Next steps in Northland line upgrade rail rejuvenation

Teams have begun surveying the rail corridor and Northland construction contractors are showing interest as the North Auckland Line rejuvenation kicks off.

KiwiRail has provided an industry briefing for Northland contracting and construction companies about future work opportunities on rejuvenating Northland’s rail lines.

The briefing session in Whangarei, attended by more than 40 people, was held yesterday to ensure local civil construction contractors - large and small - were aware of the work that was coming, says KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Capital Projects David Gordon.

“The Government has made a significant investment in the North Auckland Line with $94.8 million of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for much needed maintenance.

“Where possible, we want to use local firms for the work. There will be a mix of larger and smaller jobs making up the overall programme of works, so we wanted to ensure the local industry was aware of the opportunities not just for large companies, but also for smaller scale contractors.

“We have ensured that where possible the work is broken into bite-sized pieces suitable for smaller contractors. The meeting was well attended.

“Working in the rail corridor brings with it special safety requirements that are different from working on roads and other civil construction activity. At yesterday’s session we provided information about those requirements and the support we can provide to ensure contractors qualify.

“Survey teams have already begun gathering detailed ground and asset information to be used to help design bridge replacements and plan essential tunnel maintenance,

“It is expected to take about five weeks and will likely be completed at the end of November.

“We hope to begin hiring consultants for the bridge replacement and tunnel works in early December.

“Northland’s railway lines are underused at the moment because of their condition. The NAL is around 100 years old, is currently mothballed north of Kauri (above Whangarei) and the whole line has been in a state of ‘managed decline’ until its future was determined.

“The survey work is a major step in turning that around.”