Cable blunder causes train chaos

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 11:26 15/11/2012
Auckland trains
@JamesEspie/Twitter

'ABANDONED': Commuters left on the platform after dealys in Auckland this morning.

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Hundreds of Auckland commuters were left stranded at train stations after a contractor cut through a fibre optic cable this morning.

The blunder comes after chaos on the trains during rush hour yesterday evening when signal failure caused disruption throughout the city.

Today, trains were stalled between Pukekohe and Puhinui at 5am causing long delays on the eastern line.

The contractor cut through the cable while working on the rail electrification project.

The fault was fixed by 7.15am but delays were expected to continue throughout the morning, Veolia spokeswoman Stephanie Morison said. 

People were asked to find alternative transport where possible.

Taxi shuttles were being offered to disgruntled customers at Pukekohe and Papakura. Buses were on standby at Homai in Manurewa.

Passengers could use their Hop cards on the regular buses this morning, Morison said.

Angry passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustrations. @JamesEspie uploaded a picture of crowds waiting for trains to move, captioned "abandoned by Auckland Transport this morning".

Katiesha Elliott tweeted: "Am sooooooooo over Auckland Transport, their NoHelp centre, and feeling completely powerless...ARGGGHHH!!! Bleedin beaureacracy gone mad..."(sic) 

Yesterday's failure is being investigated by Kiwirail. The two incidents are unrelated.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said he was demanding answers from after the two incidents.  

"We need assurances from KiwiRail that they are doing everything they can to ensure there is no repeat of this disruption."

"As Aucklanders look forward to electrification and the arrival of our new train fleet, they need confidence that train services are reliable and on time.

"I have already spoken to KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn. I appreciate his apology to commuters and I have confidence that KiwiRail will seriously investigate the cause of the two outages and work hard to prevent a repeat."         

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- Auckland Now

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