Further milestone in Electrification this weekend

27 January 2012 11:11AM

A  further milestone will be reached on the electrification of Auckland rail network this weekend with the commissioning of new signalling along a 10 kilometre section of track between Wiri and Papakura.

The works follow on from an intensive programme of work completed successfully during four weeks of closures around the network over the Christmas holiday period.

The network shutdowns enabled significant progress both for the electrification project and other projects to improve the rail network, says the General Manager of KiwiRail’s Project Management Office, Murray Hood.

“The Christmas block of line was a very successful period for us with 80 separate pieces of work completed and has put us ahead of schedule in some areas.“

The most significant was commissioning of new signalling between Morningside and Swanson and major trackworks at Wiri in preparation for the new EMU depot.  KiwiRail also carried out a major track lowering exercise in Parnell on behalf of Auckland Transport, to prepare for a new station, which involved excavating 20,000 cubic metres of earth, Mr Hood says.

“Contractors were able to install 30 per cent more foundations than planned along the Southern line between Wiri and Papakura – that is a section of the network rarely available because of the number of trains operating day and night.”

Workers installed more than 300 mast foundations and strung a total of 20 kilometres of overhead wire above the network.

Work also began on building new bridges at Orakei Rd, Mt Wellington Highway and Morrin Rd to ensure there is enough room beneath them for the overhead wires. These works will continue for some months. A new footbridge is also being built at Ellerslie station and track realigned as part of the preparation for the NZTA motorway widening works.

All of the Auckland metropolitan network except a short section at Papakura will operate under a new state of the art signalling system after this weekend.

KiwiRail, NZTA,  Auckland Transport and Veolia have been working closely together to ensure timing for major work on the rail network didn’t clash with the Newmarket Viaduct switch.

“We need to take advantage of these long holiday weekends during the summer months to get as much work completed as possible,” Mr Hood says.  “However we have pushed more work into Waitangi weekend this year so much of the network can operate during the motorway closure.”

END

CONTACT: Jenni Austin, Senior Communications Advisor, 021 961 495