I watched with increasing concern initial reports on Twitter - later confirmed by other media - that the 5.33pm Wairarapa train last night had derailed just out of the Maymorn tunnel.
Train driver Adam Ford, still inside his mud-covered engine, told The Dominion Post at the scene last night: "I came into the tunnel and I could not see out the other end. It was a sea of mud. The portal was completely blocked. We slammed into it and slid off the tracks."
Six other carriages on the 5.33pm service between Wellington and Wairarapa stayed on the tracks but were stranded in the tunnel.
Passengers were stuck inside for more than two hours before being moved to the rear three carriages, which were pulled to Upper Hutt station by a second locomotive.
I'm not a Wairarapa train commuter at the moment but I have plenty of experience of reaching home at 9.30 pm or later because of incidents - some weather related, most mechnical - affecting the Wairarapa train.
I recall a perilous trip in a small minibus over the Rimutaka Hill in similar conditions to last night after a slip blocked the line at Maymorn. After waiting for a couple of hours at Upper Hutt station while arrangements were made, we were treated to a rather frightening ride - a howling gale, torrential rain and slips everywhere.
Wairarapa commuters are a phlegmatic lot. There's no point in getting wound up because you're missing a family birthday/meeting, etc. They just accept the train's stuck and that's that.
I was woken this morning at 5.06 am by a text from KiwiRail to say that there would be no trains, nor substitute buses. For once KiwiRail was being proactive and sent out a text in time to allow commuters to make arrangements to travel by car.
Some Martinborough commuters have attempted to travel by car but have been caught by floodwaters from the Ruamahunga River.
For most of the time the train service is reasonably reliable, but there are times - such as today - when it is wiser to work from home or take the day off.