There were no serious injuries after the train overshot the
platform and hit the pole. Photo / Twitter
Part of the train line north of Wellington has been
closed down while an investigation takes place into why a
passenger train derailed at Lower Hutt's Melling Station this
One person suffered minor injuries and another was treated
for shock after the incident just after 8am.
KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said when such an
incident occurred the company's top priority was passenger
and staff welfare.
"An investigation has been launched to determine exactly what
Witnesses said about 70 people were waiting for the train
when it failed to stop and crashed into the concrete
platform, eventually hitting a pole.
Ten passengers and two train crew were on board, and two
passengers were treated in hospital, Mr Reidy said.
KiwiRail had been in contact with them, and both had been
discharged from hospital.
"Six passengers left the site immediately after the accident,
and we ask those passengers and anyone on the platform at the
time of the incident to call KiwiRail on 027 706 9008 so we
can check their welfare.''
It was too early to speculate on the cause of the accident
but the company reassured its customers that safety was
paramount at all times, he said.
"The investigations would look at the full range of possible
causes for the incident.''
All services on the Melling line were suspended until further
notice, and bus replacements between Melling and Petone were
The company's trains were regularly checked as part of their
maintenance programme, Mr Reidy said.
"We conduct regular safety briefings for our staff and have
ongoing staff monitoring and training in place.''
Earlier today Mr Reidy did not want to comment on reports
that the train driver had told passengers that the brakes had
failed, and to brace themselves for an impact. Nor would he
comment on a report that there was grease on the rails this
"Sun strike, the status of the driver, the speed, the state
of the rails _ was there any ice on there? It was quite cold
this morning _ that will all be part of the investigation.
"All that will come out in due course, in terms of the root
cause of the incident.''
The train's black box and video camera footage would be
examined, he said.
There had been no indication of any problems with the train,
he said. It had been serviced 14 days ago and all trains were
inspected every morning before shifts begin.
He said he was confident the trains running tomorrow would
"We have very rigorous inspection and maintenance procedures.
We carry 11 million passengers a year in the city, and we
have very very few incidents. So this is rare.''
He said a train crash on April 15 last year was still being
"At this stage, it's not related to this incident.''
He said today was not a day to discuss whether KiwiRail had
enough funding to run a safe operation.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said it was "very
disconcerting'' that a second incident had occurred involving
a Matangi train in a 12-month period.
"We are encouraging people to use commuter rail - not only do
we want it to be reliable, but we also want it to be safe.''
The Rail and Maritime Transport Union said it sympathised
with commuters who were injured in the incident.
"This was a very unpleasant shock for commuters on board the
train. Our thoughts are with those travellers who had to
endure this incident earlier today,'' general secretary Wayne
"We will be supporting the crew who have been shaken by the
incident, and clearly will want to work with KiwiRail to
identify the root cause of the crash.
"Rail remains very safe as a transport option, and incidents
like these are rare. But this in no way minimises the shock
to those people on board this morning,'' he said.
- by Rebecca Quilliam and Derek Cheng