You can’t make this up, but the Government’s much vaunted and barely used white elephant train service from Hamilton to Papakura left two carriages behind. It’s not enough that the whole train idea is a lemon, but now the lemon is self-destructing:

Passengers travelling in a carriage that broke away from the rest of Te Huia train bound for Hamilton last night have described a loud “steel-on-steel” screech echoing through the train as they watched pieces rip off and bounce down the track.

Waikato woman Kiley O’Meara was in the first of the two back carriages that separated from the rest of the Te Huia train just 10 minutes after leaving the Papakura station at 4.42pm.

The train had just travelled across a level crossing when they heard “a god awful noise” as the emergency brakes kicked in and the carriages came to a grinding halt about 500m away from the rest of the train.

“There was just this open door and we were just looking and the train and the entrance were down the tracks.

O’Meara said its a really loud “steel on steel sound” and it was almost like they had hit a vehicle.

“Everyone was looking around to say, ‘what the hell has just happened?’.”

She said it was “really bizarre” and is still questioning how it could even happen. They hadn’t even had a chance to pay their fares before it snapped off.

NZ Herald

Apparently they were left trembling in fear looking through the missing front part of the carriages as their train ambled off.  “Hey come back!”  Honestly, you can’t make this shit up.

Good grief, it’s almost exactly like a Clark & Dawe’s episode, where the front fell off.

Surely a train service having two carriages fall off the back is a bit of a big deal? Or did they just forget to hook them onto the towbar and drive off?

The back two carriages of the Te Huia train were left about 500 metres down the track from the rest of the train

How long did it take Kiwi Rail to realise they had lost 2 carriages somewhere? Twenty minutes?

Conner said everyone was a bit panicked for the first 20 minutes as the 50 or so passengers sat in their seats not knowing what was happening.

“We were concerned another train was going to come along the tracks or were we going to have to get out on the metal in the middle of nowhere,” O’Meara said.

Once the train stopped, they overheard the attendant ring the train driver and asked him if he was coming back to get them.

Eventually the attendant started making hot beverages for everyone and tried to keep them calm, while the driver dressed in high vis appeared and after about an hour the carriages were re-coupled.

The passengers from the back two carriages were then moved to the front carriages and the train crawled along the tracks towards Pukekohe train station.

NZ Herald

Given the speed of the train, I wonder how long it took the people in the 2 carriages (or should that be “the person”) to discover that they hadn’t moved for the last hour or so?

I imagine that the press release from Ardern’s office will be along the lines of:  “Te Huia Train reaches Hamilton in record time after Kiwirail decides to make the service more efficient by reducing weight.”

Meh, it’s only a couple of carriages, that’ll buff right out.

It appears that Te Huia, like its namesake, is now extinct, replaced by Te Bus.

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A Train-Wreck of an Idea
Cam Slater

Cam Slater

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...