The Auckland metro works hard with more than 22 million commuter journeys, and six million tonnes of freight travelling on the network every year.
Track becomes worn over time as a result of usage, in the same way that road surfaces deteriorate. As with roads, temporary speed restrictions are used as a precautionary measure to ensure safe operations until the track can be repaired or replaced. Track speeds have been lowered to 40 kph across the network while we carry out this work.
As we can only do the work when trains are not running, this will mean more temporary track closures.
We are working closely with Auckland Transport to arrange optimum access to the track so we can carry out the work quickly as possible and ensure the quickest transition back to normal line speeds.
We understand that the track closures and increase in journey times are frustrating for commuters and we apologise for this. We are working to minimise overall disruption for rail passengers and for those who live and work alongside the rail corridor.
The Southern line between Homai and Pukekohe will temporarily close for four weeks from Monday 19 October to Sunday 15 November to allow for critical work to continue at pace.
At the same time,trains will resume running between Newmarket and Penrose on the Southern line from Monday 19 October ending a four week closure. We have replaced worn rail so the speed restriction can be lifted on this section.
Closing the track for an extended period minimises the overall disruption to train users and corridor neighbours, as it allows far greater productivity for KiwiRail's work teams who are being brought in from across the North Island to help get the job done as quickly as possible.
We acknowledge this will be causing disruption to rail passengers and we are grateful for the public’s patience as we carry out the urgent work.
Auckland Transport is providing bus replacements for this period. For more information please visit: at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/service-announcements/future-works-on-the-auckland-rail-network/
We are planning to replace about 100 km of track across the network which is expected to take around six months.
We are carrying out the work in a way that enables a progressive return to normal line speeds and that allows Auckland Transport to provide advance notice to train users about which areas of the network are scheduled for temporary closure.
We have agreed with Auckland Transport that a programme of rolling four-week line closures across the network is the best and most efficient way to progress the work over the coming months.
A four-week temporary line closure allows us complete all necessary work in each section in the shortest time possible. By comparison, the same work done piecemeal at nights or over weekends would take months to complete, prolonging the overall disruption.
There will be a larger, network-wide closure during the Christmas period when fewer Aucklanders are travelling in the city, and patronage is lower. At this time, we expect a boosted workforce will be working across the network.
Like you, we are looking forward to the work being finished and a more reliable and resilient network for Auckland.