Strategic Rail Programme: A 30-year vision

The Strategic Rail Programme is a collaboration between KiwiRail and Auckland Transport and provides a mechanism for us to plan, forecast demand, future-proof the network and gain meaningful public and stakeholder input to shape rail transport in Auckland over the next 10-30 years.

What are the benefits?

 The Programme represents long-term future planning for rail, providing the following benefits:

  • A 30 year forward look at what our rail network needs to be able to meet future demand (across a range of scenarios), from local, regional, and national perspectives.
  • Seeks to address long term aspirations for metro passengers, logistics operators and regional passengers.
  • Sets out a clear pathway and pipeline of planning and investment to make these plans a reality.
  • An exercise in resilience – each element of the Programme is a necessary part of a holistic programme of development, building on what we’ve got making it bigger, better, more reliable – able to do all the jobs we need from the system.
  • Reliability, capacity and journey time improvements, as well as greater connectivity, resilience, and freight and supply chain efficiencies.
  • This is not just about Auckland – it boosts inter-regional transport too, (the third and fourth tracks), and will feed into the economic benefits from more efficient freight supply chains, enabling the efficiency of the golden triangle route and creating opportunity for regional growth.
Strategic Rail Programme slide

What does it involve?

If we want all these benefits, we need to keep the rail network in balance and plan for the whole Programme. Some of the key elements of the Programme include:

  • Four-tracking the Southern Line: Over the next 30 years, it is expected that an extra 130,000 people will call South Auckland home. We are already building a third line on the busiest part of the network, but to keep up with demand and allow more frequent journeys we want to extend the third track and build a fourth to improve journey times for commuters and separate fast and slow trains, positively impacting all customers using the Southern Line.
  • Cross-town corridor (Avondale to Onehunga) using land already owned by KiwiRail and designated for rail - that creates new connectivity across Auckland and is essential to maximising the long-term capacity, resilience and reliability of the existing system and our national freight and logistics supply chain as well as providing a passenger and freight link from East to West.
  • Level crossings removals across Auckland – this improves safety and, journey times, as well as increased service frequency. It also means cars and people are not waiting for extended times at closed barrier arms. A separate programme is being run by AT to determine which crossings will be closed completely and which will be provided with an alternative (bridge or underpass).

Next steps

The Strategic Rail Programme is currently undergoing various rounds of feedback and approval from key stakeholders and will be completed and passed on to Ministers early next year (2024).