Major rail work done in Auckland over the holiday

18 January 2023

The nearly 1,300 people working across the Auckland network during the annual Christmas shutdown delivered massively in the short time they had access to the track, KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer - Capital Projects David Gordon says.

“The network closure from Boxing Day until 15 January has been among our biggest mobilisations of staff, contractors and machines - with people working day and night to make the network more resilient and reliable and to help prepare it for the opening of the City Rail Link (CRL).”

 Work was carried out across 69 different sites in Auckland, including progressing the project to extend electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe; continuing construction on the third main line through the busiest part of the network between Westfield and Wiri; major track work to improve rail access to Ports of Auckland and separate freight and commuter trains; track works in Newmarket to support CRL, level crossing changes, and necessary maintenance across the metro network.

 The first stage of KiwiRail’s Rail Network Rebuild also started on Boxing Day, with the Southern Line between Ōtāhuhu and Newmarket and the Onehunga Line to remain closed until 19 March.

 “My sincere thanks go to our staff and contractors who gave up their time during the Christmas break to make this temporary closure a success. These network shutdowns allow us to complete needed maintenance and make solid progress on improvement projects, which would otherwise take longer to complete.” Mr Gordon says.

 “Thanks also to the people of Auckland - we know this work can be noisy and sometimes at inconvenient hours and we thank you for your patience. This necessary work progressed a $1.5 billion suite of projects which will help deliver a world-class rail service for our largest city.

 “We also made good progress on the Rail Network Rebuild, which involves digging down beneath the track to replace network foundations and drainage. Our staff and contractors have put in a massive amount of work over the holiday period. Work on Stage 1 is on schedule, with 3,100m of formation (rock foundation under the rails) replaced and almost 3,400m of track-side drains upgraded so far.” 

 By the numbers – what was achieved during the Christmas Auckland network-wide closure:

  • More than 28,000m3 of ballast laid (stones that the tracks sit on)
  • More than 4,600 new sleepers
  • More than 2.6km of new rail track
  • Installation of 16 complex structures, including turnouts and crossovers (which allow trains to move from one track to another)

Mr Gordon said, as in recent years, 2023 would continue to see planned disruption as KiwiRail works to complete projects and raise the standard of the network.

 “CRL will deliver more convenient and frequent trains for Aucklanders, but we still have a lot to do and only two years to get there. It will see a level of planned ongoing disruption as the Rail Network Rebuild moves across Auckland and we use non-peak periods – such as holiday weekends and some normal weekends – for other project and maintenance work.”

 There will be a full network-wide closure over Auckland Anniversary Weekend (28-30 January). Bus replacement information is available at:


For more information about Auckland rail improvement work: