Passenger Rail

Capital Connection

The Capital Connection is a passenger rail service which runs weekdays from Palmerston North in the morning and returns from Wellington in the evening, with stops along the way in Shannon and Levin, and then Otaki, Waikanae and Paraparaumu in the Greater Wellington Region.

Tickets to travel on the Capital Connection can be purchased from Palmerston North’s iSite building in Te Marae o Hine – The Square, or alternatively you can purchase your ticket on board the train with cash or credit card at the onboard cafe. Bee Cards are not accepted on the Capital Connection.

Please note that half-price fares have ended for public transport nation-wide, aside from select groups. To see if you qualify, click the button below to view the current fare prices and timetable for the Capital Connection.

Capital Connection service upgrades

Central government have supported the $828m investment in a new fleet of hybrid-electric passenger trains for the lower North Island. This includes the Capital Connection service, which runs currently between Palmerston North and Wellington and back once a day on weekdays. Funding will be shared between central government, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Horizons Regional Council.
The successful business case presented by Horizons and Greater Wellington regional councils identified the urgent need for upgrades to our current passenger trains as they near the end of their service life. In addition, the case outlined the need for updates to provide a growing commuter-base alternative transport options away from road travel, helping ease traffic congestion at peak times.
The budget will cover a new fleet of 18 four-car, tri-mode trains and associated infrastrucuture updates in Manawatū and Wairarapa. The business case outlines key upgrades to the service, including new train stabling facilities, revitalisation of regional railway stations, and promises quadrupling of peak services and the addition of one more off-peak service everyday.
These upgrades are a welcome refresh to the current rail system in our region, and are a key step toward further reduction of carbon emissions in our public transport network. The new fleet is forecast to be in service late 2028.
Timetables for the new services are yet to be confirmed as this upgrade is still in very early stages, but keep an eye on this page for updates as we receive them.

Click here or the button below to read the business case, and watch the video below to see Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell and Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter share details of the new service.

Other services

Also running through our region is the Northern Explorer, which operates between Wellington and Auckland on a six day timetable (three journeys in each direction a week). Within the Horizons Region, it stops in Palmerston North, Ohakune and National Park.

Check out the links below for more information related to rail services within our region and beyond.