Inquiry into derailment of passenger train at land slip site, Kapiti Line

17 Aug 2021
Photo taken close-up along length of train embedded in landslip debris and flowing water
The accident train embedded in landslip debris and flowing water. Photo - Metlink

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has opened an inquiry into the derailment of a passenger train at about 6am this morning, 17 August 2021.

Harald Hendel, the Chief Investigator of Accidents, says the circumstances reported were that the ‘Kapiti’ Line commuter train derailed between Paekākāriki and Pukerua Bay where a landslip had covered the track. 

“It was fortunate that all rolling stock remained upright,” said Mr Hendel, “Reportedly 82 passengers and 3 staff were on board at the time, and they all disembarked with no injuries.”

“TAIC is appealing for passengers on the train to come forward,” said Mr Hendel. “We’re interested in hearing what they heard, saw and felt – particularly if they can help us with photographs or videos.” 
Witnesses should email TAIC at

"The Commission’s Investigation team have expert knowledge in rail engineering and maintenance, data forensics and human factors" said Mr Hendel. 

"The Investigation team’s evidence collection work at this stage is broad to support the many routes that an investigation could follow. The initial focus is on gathering evidence that could disappear or change – such as memories, or the effects of weather and surface water.

“Beyond that, evidence gathering will include recording the accident scene, interviewing witnesses, inspecting the rail and rolling stock, and the operator’s systems for managing hazards and mitigating the risks of landslips.”  
“The operating environment is also of interest, including physical, weather, the train operator’s safety system, organisational culture, and regulatory matters. 
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission opens an inquiry when it believes the circumstances of an accident or incident have - or are likely to have - significant implications for transport safety, or when the inquiry may allow the Commission to make findings or recommendations to improve transport safety.