Auckland's train service is now fully operational after a six and a half hour delay but the regional council is calling for changes in how delays are dealt with in the future.

Three sets of points failed at Britomart before 5.30am. Thousands of train commuters were told to seek alternative transport, with many turning up to work hours late.

Auckland Regional Council transport committee chairwoman Christine Rose said Britomart is a relatively new station and the points failures are a disappointment in the first year the universities are back.

"It is really unfortunate and I would suggest unacceptable for the huge number of patrons using the train service at that time," Mrs Rose said.

She said there are reports that there were not enough announcements to passengers who continued to board trains despite the failures further down the line.

"The other problem is how ARTA [Auckland Regional Transport Authority] and [train operator] Veolia in particular respond when problems arise. There are variables on where that responsibility should lie.

"When it comes to Veolia's response, just blaming it on Ontrack doesn't answer all of the issues, because there are reports of people just left standing at the platform not knowing what the problem was," Mrs Rose said

She said Veolia should make an announcement to passengers that there are problems on the track so people can catch a bus instead.

Veolia Transport spokeswoman Silva Bassett said they did their best to keep people moving. She said there has not been a failure of this kind for about 18 months.

Three track signal failures stopped all trains on the southern and western lines between Newmarket and Britomart and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) advised passengers to use their train tickets to catch a bus instead.

"We are advising passengers to take the train as far as Newmarket, then use their train ticket on the Link bus between Newmarket and Auckland," the ARTA said.

Other train services from the eastern suburbs continued to operate but with significant delays.

Ontrack spokesman Kevin Ramshaw said the signals allow train drivers to check that no other trains are on the tracks as they come into the station.

He said the fault happened shortly after 5am this morning and Ontrack was working with Veolia and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority to fix the problem.

This morning passengers were told they would be kept advised of the delays but many grew increasingly angry when there were no announcements about the cause of the delay or when they would get moving.

Some passengers were nearly two hours late for work.

The problem is nothing new. Last year commuters faced lengthy delays on several occasions.

In October, passengers told nzherald.co.nz that a voice over the loud speakers said there would be a 10 minute delay before a further announcement told passengers to get off the train and catch a bus after another signal fault.

Last year ARTA's chief executive, Fergus Gammie, attributed 61 per cent of "passenger delay minutes" to infrastructure problems under the control of Ontrack, which include signals failures and speed restrictions required around rail construction projects.

Mr Ramshaw said this morning that the equipment that had failed is not old.

When asked why it had failed, he said he would need to speak to someone in the technical division of Ontrack and would get back to nzherald.co.nz.

- NZPA, NZ HERALD STAFF