Wellington rail lines to reopen for the late-afternoon commute

Repairs to Wellington's rail lines are on track to be completed in time for the late-afternoon commute, KiwiRail says.

About 20,000 people had to find alternative means of transport this morning after a freight train derailed at a junction last night.

Details of services this afternoon would be available from MetLink, according to a KiwiRail statement.

Metlink said at about 2.30pm that it was now able to run trains on the damaged section of track. A reduced train service would run in and out of Wellington for the afternoon's peak services.

"Hutt Valley and Kapiti line Services will resume from 4pm this afternoon from Wellington railway station and will be running to a half hourly timetable, stopping at all stations," a Metlink statement said.

KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle said: "Eight sets of points (which allow trains to switch tracks) and sections of track were damaged on Tuesday night when four container wagons on a freight train derailed at the junction as it was leaving the Wellington Rail Yard. The rail lines were closed from about 7.40pm.

"KiwiRail crews from across the lower North Island worked through the night to remove the train and derailed wagons and have today been focussed on repairing the rail lines."

Crews would continue working on the junction outside commuter train schedules to restore the network to normal operation.

KiwiRail was investigating the cause of the derailment and how to prevent similar incidents in the future, Mr Moyle said.