Busy work programme begins for Auckland rail

22 May 2020

KiwiRail teams will be working hard over nights and at weekends throughout winter to build a better rail network for Auckland.

Work will begin this weekend to replace almost 12 kilometres of old rail and more than 2500 sleepers on the busy Eastern Line between Britomart and Otahuhu, says KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle.

“Aucklanders are using the rail network more and more, with 3,500 commuter services and 246 freight trains in a typical week.

“That amount of rail traffic causes wear and tear on the rails over time, just as heavy traffic does to road surfaces, and in some cases we have to put speed restrictions in place. It is critical that we replace the rails so we can keep trains running efficiently and safely on the network for the thousands of rail commuters.

“Getting this work done will enable us to remove speed restrictions on the line and when finished, commuters will enjoy a quicker, smoother and quieter journey. 

“Replacing the rail and sleepers can only be done when no trains are running. We have worked closely with Auckland Transport to settle on a work programme that allows us to minimise disruption for commuters while enabling us to get the work done efficiently and safely.

“Around 200 people will be working on the project, including 85 from outside Auckland who are being brought in to ensure the work is done as quickly as possible.

“Trains will be replaced by buses during evenings and at weekends when there are fewer commuters using the services, so our teams can get out to do the work. We understand this may be disruptive for those who use the trains at these times, however these closures mean we can get the work done much more quickly, so there is less overall disruption.

“We are conscious that this work may also cause some disturbance to our corridor neighbours. Our teams are focused on getting the work done as quickly and quietly as possible.

“We are working progressively across the entire network to replace the oldest and most worn sections of track, with 23km of new rail already in place across the network since March 2019. This period of work on the Eastern Line will take about eight weeks, with more work planned for late September.

“The work forms part of an ongoing project to improve the Auckland network, lay a foundation for predicted growth in passenger and freight volumes, and ensure the benefits of the City Rail Link can be delivered.”