KiwiRail welcomes the massive funding injection that will enable Auckland rail commuting to continue growing and take cars out of the city, along with the $211 million upgrade to Wellington networks and services..
KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller said: “These are exciting times for rail. Work in Auckland starts immediately, and will be completed in about four years. We’re delighted to have a continuum of funding that will enable us to plan and to recruit.
“This will also enable us to open our doors for cadets and apprentices.
“Auckland’s passenger rail network already enables people to make 21.4 million trips per year. When the CRL is finished, we expect another big jump in the number of people using rail to travel around the city. These major projects will help us get ready for that and underpin urban development.
“The 3rd main adds an extra rail line between Westfield and Wiri in South Auckland, a section of line that is congested with freight trains going to and from Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga, and increasingly frequent metro commuter services. For CRL to deliver the level of commuter service Auckland needs, the 3rd main is crucial.
“The Papakura to Pukekohe electrification will extend the metro network and help people move to more affordable commuter hubs away from the city. Currently the Auckland metro trains stop at Papakura and passengers have to switch to a diesel commuter train that runs between Papakura to Pukekohe. We expect electrification to enable people to stay on the same train on a more reliable service.”
KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer - Capital Projects & Asset Development David Gordon says the new investment in the Wellington area is aimed at accommodating future growth of commuter rail and improving efficiency.
"On the Wairarapa line, adding two passing loops on the line and a second platform at Featherston enables trains to pass each other. This allows more commuter trains to run on the line and removes any difficulties in how they would interact with freight trains.
"Previously, in late 2018, the Government announced a $96 million investment in the Wairarapa Line. This work, which is scheduled to start around the middle of this year, will improve the state of the Wairarapa Line and allow current speed restrictions to be lifted, which will make train services faster and more reliable."
Mr Gordon says "$70 million will be spent on improving the signalling system and track approach to Wellington Station, particularly the area north of the stadium where the Johnsonville, Hutt Valley, and Kapiti Lines all come together.
"This is a critical part of the network and the improvements will reduce the risk of incidents that can cause disruption across the whole network. It will also help reduce the number of trains having to wait to get into Wellington Railway Station.
"Storage facilities for commuter trains will be built in Wellington, Levin and Masterton. This are to support the expected growth of commuter services in the years ahead."
A $15 million investment in carriages for the Capital Connection service will allow KiwiRail to fully refurbish ex-Auckland Transport carriages including new interiors, seats, and toilets.