Preparatory work began in late 2020 and be completed by 2024 so the benefits are in place before the City Rail Link opens. The $315 million funding package for these works was announced as part of the Government's New Zealand Upgrade Programme.
Building a third main to separate out freight from passenger trains and improve connections will happen in several locations around Auckland's metro network including:
Westfield and Wiri are the busiest junctions on the rail network for both freight and commuter trains. The works will improve the way the junctions connect between the rail yards, EMU depot and the main line.
This section of the Third Main project will take place on existing rail land and work is expected to start by late 2020.
Improving the entry and exit points to the yard will allow freight trains to more efficiently, and will mean slow-moving freight trains won’t delay commuter services.
Constructing an additional track through this area and improving the junctions between the Manukau Line, Ports of Auckland Inland Port, Auckland Transport’s EMU Depot, and the Southern Line will help to separate freight and commuter trains.
Ultimately the separation will prevent slower, longer freight trains delaying faster commuter services.
Constructing an additional track on the western side between Middlemore to Wiri will ease congestion by:
Works are expected to start in 2022. Changes will need to be made at Middlemore station, while Puhinui and Papatoetoe stations are already able to accommodate the new track.
At Middlemore Station a new platform and overbridges will be built so people can access the station, and cross the rail corridor safely. We recognise this is well used by commuters, residents and those accessing the hospital. We are working with both Middlemore Hospital and Auckland Transport to plan these works.
Some areas of the rail corridor are not wide enough for the third track. In those areas, we will need additional land along the western boundary of the corridor so we can make room for the new rail infrastructure. We are working with those landowners.
Works will be within rail land and will see us separating out freight and commuter trains so the slower freight trains won’t delay commuter services.
To do this we are changing the track layout to provide separate rail access to the Ports of Auckland freight yard, and installing two additional scissor crossovers to enable more operational flexibility.