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Auckland rail electrification

Auckland's rail network is being prepared for the arrival of new electric multiple units. The most important elements have been work to electrify the network and to renew the signalling system.

About this project

The installation of overhead wires is an important element of the Auckland rail electrification project. KiwiRail began installing overhead wires in October 2011, and first wires went up at Swanson station on the Western Line; wires are being progressively installed towards CBD. The overhead wires have also been installed along the Onehunga Branch Line, and many sections of the Southern Line.

The presence of overhead wires means changes for some road users at level crossings, with the introduction of height restrictions at the 31 level crossings on Auckland roads within the electrified area.

At most of level crossings, the height restriction will be 5 metres, but 11 will have a reduced height restriction of 4.25m. Roadside signs will warn of the presence of wires and display the height restriction at that level crossing.

Road users wanting to cross a level crossing with loads in excess of sign-posted clearances, will need to obtain written permission from KiwiRail before crossing. Written permission can be obtained by contacting KiwiRail Operations Support desk on 04 474 2323 or emailing

These are additional requirements to NZTA's general operating requirements for overdimension vehicles as laid down by Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2002 and its amendments.

The height restrictions have been set in accordance with electrical safety regulations to keep road users and rail passengers safe, by ensuring nothing comes too close to or contacts the wires, which will carry loads of 25kV.

The restrictions are similar to those already in place at level crossings in Wellington, and between Hamilton and Palmerston North, where the rail network is already electrified.

Road users wanting to cross a level crossing with a high load need to make sure that the load they are carrying or towing is under the signposted height restriction. To do this, they will need to check the safe height restrictions at any level crossing they wish to cross, before starting their journey. Road users with loads in excess of sign-posted clearances will need to apply to KiwiRail for written permission to use a level crossing.
Examples of loads that could be over the height restriction include the transportation of cranes, diggers, poles, ladders and boats.

For more information on height restrictions at level crossings in Auckland and transporting over dimension vehicles over them email: or call KiwiRail Operations Support desk on 04 474 2323

Click here for a map showing height restrictions at level crossings and for more information on transporting an overheight load over a level crossing click here.