KiwiRail boosts Auckland metro backup power following outage

KiwiRail has reconfigured the backup power supply for Auckland’s metro train signalling system after an outage on Wednesday morning led to significant train delays across the network.

The signal fault prevented trains in the region from moving for about 30 minutes (except for the Onehunga line, which was suspended for over two hours), leading to delays for more than 5000 commuters. It was the second signal outage in a week in Auckland, following on from a similar incident on Friday June 14.

The latest outage received criticism from Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who said on Twitter yesterday that “a second KiwiRail signal failure on Auckland’s network is not good enough”.

Goff said that he had sought assurance from KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller that the infrastructure was fit for purpose.

KiwiRail’s initial internal investigations have found that the second outage was caused by a contractor working on a nearby property who cut power to KiwiRail’s property instead of the building site he was supposed to be working on.

An independent external review will also be conducted to cover high-risk failure points. The company has boosted back-up power to the signalling system with batteries and generators to reduce the risk of future outages.

KiwiRail chief operating officer Todd Moyle said the system was still being repaired after last week’s failure, which meant the usual back-up systems were not operating normally.

“We have written to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to apologise,” Moyle explained. “We take our role as manager of the network very seriously and we understand how important reliability is for commuters.”