18 January 2021
Passenger trains returned to Britomart Station today after a three-week closure while a new scissor track crossing was installed at the eastern end of Britomart tunnel and worn out rail was replaced between Newmarket and the city.
KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Capital Projects and Asset Development, David Gordon says that the temporary closure was necessary to get a boosted workforce into critical inner parts of Auckland’s network that are near impossible to access while trains are running.
“Along with installing a new track scissor in the throat of Britomart Tunnel, our rail crews fixed 6km of worn rail and replaced two turnouts running between Newmarket and Britomart, which is a major highway in our network, carrying most of the city’s trains.
“On the average day, more than 350 trains travel on this section of line, so we made the most the shutdown and worked 24/7 to make sure trains could return to Britomart today, as scheduled.
“The new scissor crossing is part of work KiwiRail is doing to modify and improve the track layout into Britomart Station, to help future proof the line so that it’s ready for increased patronage once the City Rail Link opens.”
Passenger trains returned to sections of Auckland’s rail network last Monday after a 16-day network wide shutdown for work to occur over the Christmas and New Year period.
Across the network, more than 200 rail staff and contractors successfully completed an enormous programme of rail infrastructure work to make the network more resilient and to reduce future outages.
“The Christmas holiday shutdown enabled us to replace 18km of worn rail which is the equivalent distance of driving from Britomart to Ōtāhuhu.
“Closing the track for an extended period like this minimises overall disruption to train users, as it allows far greater productivity for our teams. That being said, we certainly appreciate the patience of the city’s train users who have been disrupted by our programme.
“Preliminary work on Papakura to Pukekohe electrification was completed and stage one of the third main works were also completed at Westfield and Wiri junctions.
“Now that we have worked on the central sections, our focus turns to the Western line. The Western line will be largely closed to passenger trains until the end of the month.
“We have planned the repairs on the Western line to be carried out during the school holidays but appreciate this is still disruptive and apologise.”
KiwiRail continues to make solid progress repairing damaged rail across the network and has now completed 70% of the required work.
For the latest information on closures visit AT.govt.nz/railclosures.
For more information about KiwiRail’s track repair work visit www.kiwirail.co.nz/what-we-do/projects/amp/upcoming-work/
KiwiRail is also reestablishing freight services on the line to Whangārei and reminds the public to look out for freight trains on the Western line as they travel to and from Northland.
“There will also be traffic on the rail line from rail maintenance vehicles, so please pay close attention at all level crossings,” says Mr Gordon.