The entire Auckland train network was shut down during the evening peak today due to a power failure in Wellington. In this case it wasn’t a power failure from government ministers who would probably like nothing more than to close the network down but a problem at Kiwirails train control centre. The Herald reports:
KiwiRail has apologised for the widespread disruption, which was caused by a power outage in its National Train Control Centre in Wellington.
The outage affected all radio and signals in Auckland, requiring all trains services to be halted.
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said KiwiRail was working closely with Veolia in order to get trains moving again.
Mr Quinn said an urgent investigation is underway to understand the cause of the outage. “We are taking the situation very seriously,” he said.
The outage only affected the Auckland metropolitan network and train services elsewhere in the country were operating as scheduled.
Trains in between stations were forced to pull up into platforms, allowing passengers to disembark, after the outage.
Veolia Transport said it was trying to source as many rail bus services and taxis for customers on the network as it can.
The fault at KiwiRail’s National Train Control in Wellington, which controls Auckland signals and radio control, occurred about 4pm.
Limited services on the Eastern line started running just after 5pm, with all signals back up and running by 5.30pm.
Kiwirail only recently moved operations for the Auckland network down to Wellington which was done as part of the new and meant to be state of the art signalling system. Some imediate questions that come to mind are,
- Where are the back up systems and why did they fail?
- Why was Auckland the only region affected?
- What are the disaster recovery plans and how long would Auckland be without train services if there was a serious earthquake in Wellington?
- Is Kiwirail going to compensate Auckland Transport for this, after all we are paying them ever increasing amounts in track access fees.
- Does this get added as just one fault to the list?
I’m sure these and other questions will be answered as part of the review, hopefully that review is made public. About the only positive thing to come out of this is so far is that for a brief time today we actually had integrated ticketing.
Rail tickets are accepted on the following Buses: NZ Bus, Metro link, Waka Pacific, Howick & Eastern and Go West.