Please attribute to KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle.
KiwiRail has worked jointly and positively with AT, TransDev and NZTA to ensure the track continues to be safe and to identify required upgrades to Auckland’s metro network, driven by a steep rise in train frequency and passenger numbers.
Maintenance and renewal activities are funded by AT with a contribution from NZTA, and the work is performed by KiwiRail as the asset owner. AT and TransDev provide train-free time gates to allow KiwiRail track workers access.
Increased maintenance and adequate funding are crucial to support not only nearly 200,000 commuter services each year and 246 freight trains per week, but also the planned increases following the introduction of the CRL.
While a reliable, safe commuter rail service in a growing city reduces the number of commuters travelling in private cars, increased rail patronage also means more in the way of maintenance cost and access time.
In response to increased wear and tear on Auckland’s rail network, KiwiRail increased inspections and renewals activities at the beginning of this year. Worn sections of track in different parts of the network were either replaced immediately or speed restricted until repairs were completed. Teams were brought in from around New Zealand to ensure the work was carried out as quickly as possible.
In September we were able to conduct detailed daytime walking inspections across the whole of the Auckland Metro. These inspections identified wear requiring speed restrictions to approximately two per cent of Auckland Metro. The issues were able to be quickly addressed and repairs were completed either on the day or within ten days of the inspection.
The inspections have enabled us to work with our shareholders, NZTA and our valued Auckland metro partners, AT and TransDev, to strengthen our case for funding to upgrade the network, and for continued access to the line during night time and also daylight hours.
We apologise for the delays inspections and increased work have caused to commuter and freight services, but safety remains our priority.