Commuter services returned as planned today following the successful completion of programmed maintenance across the networks.
In Wellington commuter services resumed after a 10 day shutdown period between Boxing Day and January 5, which allowed more than 200 staff to work across 15 different sites.
At Wellington Station, the busiest part of the network, foundations were installed for 80 new masts for the overhead power lines, some of which date as far back at 1938 and needed to be replaced. Under normal circumstances this work would take 20 weeks to complete, without the network being closed to trains.
Along the Hutt Valley Line at Trentham Station, KiwiRail staff and contractors began work on a new pedestrian underpass. The rail tracks were temporarily removed, with signal and power systems disconnected and major earthworks completed before the tracks and power were reinstated so trains could travel through the section of line.
KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Capital Projects David Gordon says the work was a resounding success and came down to careful planning and hard work from staff and contractors.
“We successfully fitted months of essential maintenance activities into just 10 days. Our staff and contractors operating at these sites completed a huge amount of work and deserve a well-earned break after working through the holiday period.”
With the amount of maintenance and upgrade work carried out to rail infrastructure, the safe resumption of commuter services was paramount, says Mr Gordon.
“We completed rigorous inspections of the track and overhead equipment and ran test trains through critical sites to ensure the network was safe for trains to be back up and running.”
In Auckland the track around Mt Eden Station was re-aligned to enable the City Rail Link tunnel works to commence and also for the future redevelopment of the station. In Ōtāhuhu work will continue as planned for another week as KiwiRail redevelops the rail infrastructure to enable more frequent train services into Ōtāhuhu Station once the City Rail Link opens in 2024. Auckland Transport is operating a special timetable to accommodate this work.