Eastern Line train service suspension extended

3 September 2020

Trains will not run on the Eastern Line, between Quay Park (Parnell) and Westfield for an additional two weeks as KiwiRail’s urgent upgrade of the Auckland metro railway network steps up.

The Eastern Line was due to re-open on Monday after a two-week temporary closure but will now re-open on 21 September.

Recent testing revealed that about 100km of rail in the Auckland network needs repairing or replacing. A speed restriction of 40km/h is in place across Auckland and it is anticipated this will be progressively lifted as the repair work is carried out.

“This project involves considerable logistical complexity to ensure staff, contractors, machinery, rails, sleepers and ballast are all in the right place at the right time to enable the work to progress,” KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle says.

“We have made a good start on the Eastern Line with 1000 sleepers replaced and close to 6km of new rail laid so far. 

“We’re bringing in teams from across the North Island to help get this job done as quickly as possible.”

The replacement of rail tracks is done in two stages, involving several steps. After the old, damaged rail is removed, new rail is cut to size and lifted onto the sleepers where it is connected by welding each piece together.  Once installed, it needs to be stretched and rewelded to ensure it is the right length to cope with hot and cold temperatures - a process called de-stressing.

“Allowing KiwiRail around the clock access to the track over a four-week period is an efficient and productive way of working and enables our teams to keep momentum and get through a larger amount of work,” Mr Moyle says.

"We acknowledge the disruption and frustration that this work is causing to rail passengers.  We are grateful to the public for their patience as we continue our work to deliver a resilient and reliable rail network that can cope with the future growth we expect in Auckland.”

Auckland Transport Executive General Manager Integrated Networks, Mark Lambert said AT shared customers frustrations and disappointment that the works on the Eastern Line will continue for another two weeks. “However, this work by KiwiRail is urgently needed and we will continue to support our customers with bus replacement services and other support for as long as we need to.”

Further information on replacement bus services is available on AT’s website and the AT Mobile app.