6 Oct 2015

Power lines fall on electric train tracks

4:16 pm on 6 October 2015

KiwiRail says it doesn't believe people were at risk when a heavy overhead cable fell this morning, whipping around in the air, before landing across train tracks.

One of Auckland's 57 new electric trains at Henderson Station

A bracket holding the cable in place above the train tracks gave way this morning Photo: Supplied/Auckland Transport

About 100 passengers on Auckland's southern line service were evacuated from a stranded train.

A spokesperson for KiwiRail said a bracket holding the wire in place gave way at about 11am, near the Homai railway station, but it was not yet clear why the bracket had failed.

David Gordon said there was no risk of electrocution because when the line breaks, the power is turned off.

"We've got a fibre-optic cable, so literally at the speed of light the power gets turned off. But you have got a situation where a heavy bit of cable is going through the air and falling to the ground. Because the wire there is under quite a bit of tension and it's quite a thick wire, it did whip around at the height of the poles themselves before coming to rest in the corridor."

Mr Gordon said the cause of the fault was not likely to be known for a couple of days.

Auckland Transport said buses were replacing trains between Manukau and Papakura.

It is the second time an overhead line has fallen on Auckland's new electric rail network.