Goodbye Paraparaumu, Hello Kapiti


In a few weeks, Wellington train commuters will see the start of the big year of improvements to their service.

It’s farewell to the familiar name of the Paraparaumu line which will be renamed the Kapiti Line because commuter services will run further north, to Waikanae. This starts Sunday February 20.

Waikanae's new station | Tranz Metro

Gone will be the days of just one train every weekday from Waikanae – trains will run throughout the day, every day. The Wellington to Waikanae trip wil take exactly an hour. The first weekday train leaves Waikanae at 5am and the last one from Wellington leaves at 11.14pm which is a fantastic service. The new timetable is here

A Waikanae to Wellington 10 zone off-peak rail cash fare will be $9.50. Waikanae has a new station building with toilets and a waiting room featuring a display of the station’s history. The station also has a new, longer platform and a new carpark.

There will be numerous other changes on the day, including changes to most train times as well as changes to connecting bus routes and times -and more consistency in running patterns of trains which is most welcome.

The changes:

  • The Paraparaumu line will be renamed the Kapiti Line and services will run to Waikanae
  • Most service times will change
  • More consistency in running patterns of the trains (e.g. express services will be more consistent regarding intermediate stops)
  • The late night and early morning local services between Paekakariki and Paraparaumu will be discontinued
  • Express service patterns will change
  • More peak trains will stop in Tawa -more peak hour train trips from Melling and Tawa.
  • Taita services will no longer stop at Ngauranga and Kaiwharawhara at peak times – passengers for these stations will need to connect to a Melling service at Petone
  • More Sunday morning trips between Johnsonville and Wellington
  • Porirua bus service improvements  include better bus and train connections, a direct bus service from Titahi Bay to Porirua East, changes to the bus route through Porirua CBD to make it easier for people to know where to catch buses from, later evening services to Titahi Bay and Whitby, a brand new bus service to Aotea and a door to door community bus service for Porirua East residents.

As well as the extension of the electrified train line to Waikanae, the line between McKays Crossing, north of Paekakariki, and Waikanae has been double tracked. This will help make train services more reliable and enable more peak hour services in the future.  Paraparaumu Station has a new station building with waiting room, ticket office and toilets. A longer subway replaces the overbridge which was not suitable for disabled passengers.

One not so good sign is that the policy on bicycles on trains is currently being reviewed. And the authority makes it clear that despite the changes, trains will setill run late or have problems, explaining: “ There is a lot of ongoing work to be done across the network but it will certainly go a long way towards more reliable services.” A 4am Saturday service and weekday 5am service from Plimmerton have been removed because only one or two people used them. Some Friday-only, late night and early morning services will be discontinued. Those extra Friday night services into Wellington were a throwback from the very old days of late night shopping.

So what of the new Matangi trains?

Matangi trains on Upper Hutt from late February

Passengers on the Hutt Valley Line will get their first taste of travel on a Matangi from late February.  The new trains will run initially at off-peak times between Wellington and Upper Hutt.

About three a month are arriving of the total of 48.

The stainless steel trains will run on the Johnsonville Line from May and on the Kapiti Line from July.

Spruced up Ganz-Mavang |Tranz Metro

A spruced up Ganz Mavag unit, with some similar features to the brand new Matangi trains, is also about to appear.

The unit, one of the 30-year old fleet that run on the Hutt Valley and Kapiti Lines, has been entirely refurbished and given another 10 years’ lease of life.

The unit now has, like the Matangi trains, passenger-operated doors, a high quality public address system, passenger information display systems on the inside and outside and CCTV. Passengers will find new seats, new floor coverings and no ‘cold train’ syndrome, a problem that has arisen with the Ganz Mavags due to component failures. A range of engineering and mechanical improvements have been made to the train to improve reliability.

The refurbishment is a prototype which will be assessed by the regional council which will decide soon whether to refurbish the rest of the fleet.




  1. At Paremata station we will now have a 31 minute gap between the peak morning 0809 and 0840 services followed by a train 6 minutes later 0846. I am sorry but that is NOT ‘fantastic’ service.

  2. Anthony says:

    It is a fantastic improvement to the servic IMO.
    The Ganz Mavangs looks good too! but i reckon they need some straps for those people standing.

    I remember a 12:30 midnight service from Wellington to Porirua which is a 4 carrage set being crowded with me having to stand up. and other kids (in PJ’s!!!) sitting on the aisle, this was due to the Westlife Concert on the night and other events.

    I always wondered why there were a lot of parking and so little traffic outside the Westlife Event at the TSB center!

  3. Andrew says:

    Wow. “Connecting buses”. Something Auckland pretty much still only dreams of.

  4. Brent C says:

    @ Andrew - Don’t get too excited just yet, we are a long way off integrated ticketing.

  5. Andrew says:

    Actually it was timetabled connections between trains and buses that I was in awe of.

  6. Matt L says:

    Just for comparison, the train from Waikanae is scheduled to take 1 hour to cover the 55km between Waikanae and Wellengton. The Western line in Auckland is 31km long between Waitakere and Britomart yet that is scheduled to take 58 minutes. Shows just how slow the trains can be up here at the moment.

    BTW I realise this isn’t a fair comparison as there are a lot of differences between the networks.

  7. Nick R says:

    I think the key thing there is the last 30km of the line to Waikanae only has five stops on it!

  8. Luke says:

    in Wellington in the Kapiti line there is also an 7km stretch from Ngaraunga to Takapu Road with no stops.

  9. dj says:

    Good write up in saturdays DomPost. Full page on whats happen, whats happening now, and whats still to happen and where all the money has been sent. Better transport reporting than we get in the Herald.

  10. Nik says:

    Great improvement in service but those in Paraparaumu central now have train horns blowing from 5am - 11pm 7 days a week in a residential area. Thats when they come, cross, and leave going in both directions. Has the double track project considered all of the new noise it creates to an existing residential area?

  11. Ben Moore says:

    Finally Wellington has moved forward with Rail. Its a pity that the same cannot be said about Auckland or Christchurch. Coming off a plane at Akld, RWC visitors face being financially raped by taxi drivers or a noisy smelly ride on a shitty bus. What a joke! Wellington would do well by taking the lead and installing urban rail to the airport. That is what one would expect of the Capital


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>