Auckland Mayor Len Brown has demanded an explanation from
KiwiRail after two rail problems in little more than 12 hours
caused commuter chaos.
A broken communications cable caused major delays on
Auckland's southern and eastern train networks this morning
and hundreds of commuters were held up last night when a
signal failure cut stopped trains and left passengers
stranded in the CBD.
KiwiRail has apologised for the disruption and launched
investigations into the two unrelated incidents, but Mr Brown
said today he wanted an explanation and an assurance that
everything was being done to prevent it happening again.
"As Aucklanders look forward to electrification and the
arrival of our new train fleet, they need confidence that
train services are reliable and on time."
Auckland rail operator Veolia Transport said a cable was cut
overnight, affecting all train services between Pukekohe and
Puhinui this morning.
Commuters were advised to seek alternative transport.
Last night's fault in Auckland happened about 6.30pm at the
end of peak-hour traffic, causing people to pour out of the
station searching for buses and taxis.
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said his organisation had
launched investigations into both incidents.
"We understand how much frustration this disruption will have
caused people who rely on the trains, and we sincerely
apologise for that."
Work was underway to repair the fibre optics cable damaged
near Papakura as quickly as possible, so normal rail services
could be restored.
Mr Quinn said KiwiRail would be working to understand how the
incident occurred while works was being done on installing
the overhead masts and wires required to power Auckland's new
Technical teams were also working to understand the cause of
last night's signalling fault, Mr Quinn said.
"It was a local Auckland fault, and with complex equipment
such as that it can take some time to pinpoint the cause."