Developing Auckland's Rail Transport - DART

Auckland's rail network is being upgraded to enable more frequent and reliable commuter services, and prepare for electrification in time for the delivery of Auckland's new electric trains in 2013.

With funding from central Government totaling $1.6 billion KiwiRail started work in 2006 to carry out a series of projects to deliver more frequent and reliable train services. Commuters are now enjoying the benefits of this work, and the recent completion of the electrification of the rail network, in preparation for Auckland's new electric trains which began running in 2014.

KiwiRail was responsible for:

  • Building the new infrastructure needed to electrify the network from Papakura to Swanson ($500 Million)
  • Completing other improvements to track infrastructure to enable improved commuter rail services.

An efficient and effective rail system is of critical importance to New Zealand's economic development.

Nowhere was this more apparent than Auckland, the country's largest city and economic powerhouse. In this fast growing city a re-vitalised rail network capable of moving commuters and freight rapidly and reliably around the city could deliver significant gains in terms of reduced traffic congestion and improved economic growth.

The Crown recognised the need for investment to allow rail to play a full part in an integrated and reliable passenger transport network that would encourage more Aucklanders to use public transport.

The 2006 Budget included funding of up to $600 million for rail infrastructure improvements to speed development of the Auckland network.

KiwiRail used this funding to improve the network, stations, signals, traction and overall reliability of the commuter services.

Key improvements included:


The infrastructure component of the project is worth $500 million and involved:

  • TRACTION - Building the overhead masts and wires that will power the trains. For more information click here
  • SIGNALLING - installing a new system that is compatible with the new overhead wires and will give more efficient and reliable train services. For more information click here
  • CLEARANCES - ensuring there is enough room beneath bridges and in tunnels for the overhead wires that will carry the electricity to power the trains. For more information click here


Project DART, the suite of projects designed to improve the capacity, reliability and reach of the Auckland's commuter rail network ($600 million), is now largely complete.

Key components of the project included:

  • The redevelopment of Newmarket Station and Junction completed in January 2010
  • The duplication of the Western line from Newmarket to Swanson completed in June 2010
  • The re-opening of the Onehunga branch line in September 2010
  • The new Manukau rail link which will be completed in 2011
  • Network wide improvements to safety and reliability