With freight volumes in Northland expected to increase from 18 million tonnes a year currently to 23 million tonnes by 2042, rail is a crucial part of developing an efficient, integrated road-rail transport system for the region.
Rail helps reduce overall transport emissions, given each tonne of freight carried by rail has 70 per cent fewer emissions than that carried by road.
It also helps reduce road congestion and road maintenance costs through fewer truck journeys.
At present the vast majority of freight in Northland is carried by truck.
Northport is one of the few ports in New Zealand that is not rail connected, and only a short spur is needed to join it to the national rail network.
Connecting Northport to the rail network will add much needed resilience to the wider North Island supply chain by creating more transport options.
The route is approximately 19km and runs between Oakleigh, south of Whangarei, and Northport. The route was designated in 2012.
The rail corridor width future proofs for double tracking and all five road crossings will be grade separated.
We expect the project to take up to five years to deliver.
Previous Government investment has enabled KiwiRail to begin the necessary land acquisition for the route.
Our next steps will be to:
KiwiRail has received Government investment of more than $200 million to:
Work already completed on the North Auckland Line between Swanson and Whangārei has:
Further work is still underway to return this line to a standard similar to the rest of New Zealand’s rail network, ensuring efficient rail operations for the long-term.
That work includes replacing another 10km of rail and laying more than 100,000 sleepers.
Funding has already been allocated to reopen the currently mothballed line between Kauri (just north of Whangārei) and Otiria, and to build a rail/road transfer site at Otiria.
Additional funding through NZUP will allow the line between Whangārei and Otiria to be further upgraded so it is capable of carrying 18 tonne axle loads.
We expect the work on this section of line to begin in 2022.