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The Paraparaumu Line is the electrified southern portion of the North Island Main Trunk Railway between New Zealandmarker's capital city, Wellingtonmarker, and Paraparaumumarker on the Kapiti Coast, operated by Tranz Metro .Trains run frequently every day, with stops at 15 stations..


The Paraparaumu Line was constructed by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company as part of its line between Wellington and Longburn, south of Palmerston Northmarker.It was built by a group of Wellington businessmen frustrated with the indecision of the government with regards to the construction of a west coast route out of Wellington. Construction of the line began in September 1882 and followed a circuitous, steep route via Johnsonvillemarker.It was opened to Plimmertonmarker in October 1885, and on 3 November 1886 the line was finished, with the final spike driven just north of Paraparaumu at Otaihangamarker.

On 7 December1908the government acquired the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, and incorporated it into the New Zealand Government Railways' national network as the southern portion of the North Island Main Trunk line.

Deviation and electrification

In 1928, work began on a deviation to avoid the difficult Johnsonville section of the line. This deviation had two significant tunnels between Kaiwharawharamarker and Tawamarker.It opened to freight on 24 July1935and to passengers on 19 June1937. Most of the Johnsonville section was retained as the Johnsonville Line.

The line from Wellington to Paekakariki was electrified in 1940, primarily to avoid smoke nuisance in the new deviation's lengthy second tunnel, and to provide extra tractive effort on the line between Pukerua Baymarker and Paekakariki.Paekakariki was thus established as a major station where trains swapped from steam(later diesel) to electric motive power, and it was the northern terminus of the commuter line for many years. Electrification was extended to Paraparaumu on 7 May1983.


From electrification until the 1980s, the majority of commuter services on the line were operated by DM/Delectric multiple units, with some carriage trains hauled by EDand EWelectric locomotives, particularly at peak periods. ED and EW locomotives also hauled freight trains over this section until the tunnels between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki were lowered in 1967 and DAdiesel locomotives could be used into Wellington.

From 1982 the new EM/ETelectric multiple units were delivered. They had been ordered to replace the wooden carriage trains hauled by electric locomotives on commuter services and largely displaced the DM/D units on the Paraparaumu Line.

By the 1980s, the ED and EW electric locomotives were not required for either freight trains or for commuter trains. They were retired due to age and lack of use, the EDs by 1981 and the EWs by 1988. From 2010 the introduction of the MEM classEMUs will provide extra passenger capacity, and enable the remaining DM/DEMUs to be withdrawn.

The future

A proposal to extend the electrification to Waikanaemarker was approved by the Greater Wellington regional council on 8 May 2007.This project will involve the double trackingof the single trackline between MacKays Crossing (between Paekakariki and Paraparaumu) as far as the rail overbridge and river bridge south of Waikanae. The extension is expected to be completed by November 2010, when new FM class electric multiple units will be delivered. Proposals for new stations at Raumati, between MacKays Crossing and Paraparaumu, and Lindalemarker, north of Paraparaumu near Otaihangamarker are on hold, to be reconsidered after 2010, as it was claimed that there were problems affecting a station at Raumati (the provision of access to SH 1 and park-and-ride facilities) and an unstable hillside behind the line.

A further extension of the electrification to Otakimarker remains a possibility.The section between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki may also be double tracked or replaced by a less steep deviation during the first half of the 21st century, although the present proposal is to daylightonly the northernmost (No. 7) tunnel which is through rock, and have double track from there.

See also

List of Wellington railway stations


  1. Tranz Metro, [1]
  2. MetLink, [2]
  3. Geoffrey B. Churchman and Tony Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey Through History (Auckland: HarperCollins, 1991), 164.
  4. Churchman and Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand, 165.
  5. Churchman and Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand, 168.
  6. Adam Ray, "Rail Upgrade Gets Green Light", The Dominion Post, 9 May 2007.
  7. The Dominion Post, 15 April 2008, page A5 "Railway station plans go on hold"
  8. metlink wellington bus, train, ferry public transport timetables: Metlink News - Issue 5, April 2008
  9. Greater Wellington - Kapiti Coast railway upgrade details revealed
  10. Terry McDavitt, et al., Proposed Western Corridor Plan: Hearing Subcommittee's Report (Greater Wellington Regional Council, 8 March 2006), 51-4.

External links

box_width = 32em
name = Paraparaumu Line
color = 33CC00
logo =
logo_width =
image =
image_width =
caption =
type = commuter rail
system = Metlink
status = Open, passenger and freight
locale = Wellington region, New Zealandmarker
start = Wellingtonmarker
end = Paraparaumu
stations = 18
routes =
ridership =
open =
close =
owner = ONTRACK
operator = Tranz Metro
character = Urban
stock = EM/ET EMUs
linelength =
tracklength =
notrack =
gauge =
el = 1500V DC overhead
speed =
elevation =
map =

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