While most people are taking a break over Christmas and New Year, KiwiRail is getting significant work done on and around the tracks.
KiwiRail, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and contractors will be taking advantage of the quieter holiday period to close the commuter train network from Boxing Day to 10 January and make progress on maintenance and upgrade work across the Wellington region.
The work includes removing old wooden poles and wiring and putting up new masts and overhead lines over the tracks leading into Wellington Station.
“We’ve got 10 kilometres of old wiring coming down, and old wooden posts, some of which date back to the 1930s,” says KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Capital Projects David Gordon. “Putting up new wiring and masts is a big undertaking and we’ll have around 60 people working day and night to get this done in a relatively short timeframe.”
KiwiRail crews and contractors will also be working on the Johnsonville Line, replacing sleepers in the line’s seven tunnels.
“Work conditions in the Johnsonville Line tunnels are a bit more challenging as they are particularly narrow,” Mr Gordon says. “We’ve been trialling new equipment which will help us get the work done more efficiently.”
Meanwhile, Trentham Station is closed from 6 December to 16 January to allow for a rebuild of the existing platform to provide upgraded facilities, better lighting and a safer step onto the train.
The works in Trentham are part of a wider upgrade programme we have underway to improve the Wellington rail network, using $196 million of Government funding that was announced two years ago.
“The extensive work we’re doing now and over the next few years is all about improving the network’s capacity resilience, performance and reliability,” says Mr Gordon.
Some of the other planned works in the Wellington region include sleeper replacement between Paremata and Pukerua Bay, at the Steyne Avenue level crossing in Plimmerton, as well as on the Old Hutt Road rail overbridge between Kaiwharawhara and Takapu Road.
NZTA will also take advantage of the rail shutdown to complete crucial work on the Petone to Melling section of Te Ara Tupua – part of the future walking and cycling link between Wellington and Lower Hutt.
Over the shutdown, NZTA contractors Fulton Hogan will build a new walking and cycling underpass beneath the rail south of Petone Station. The underpass is the second of two to be built as part of the Petone to Melling project. It will link the cycleway under construction alongside SH2 to the planned Ngauranga to Petone harbourside shared path, and provide an additional connection to Petone Station.
Metlink General Manager Scott Gallacher says it makes sense for the works to be done over Christmas when there are fewer people travelling on the region’s public transport network.
“These upgrades are essential for Metlink’s future plans and will enable us to provide greater capacity and reliability for our customers.
Bus services will not be affected by the works but some train services will be replaced by buses.
We’ll also be running special holiday timetables on buses, trains and the harbour ferry from Wednesday 23 December 2020 to Sunday 10 January 2021 with our normal weekday services starting back on Monday 11 January.
The Metlink website and app will detail all our services and I encourage all Metlink customers to check before they travel so they can prepare themselves for their journeys.
I’d like to thank Metlink customers and the amazing communities that we are proud to serve for their patience and understanding during this time,” says Scott Gallacher.
For more information contact KiwiRail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.metlink.org.nz.