US-based Jacobs has won two rail contracts from New Zealand’s rail network owner and operator KiwiRail for upgrading the rail network in Auckland.

These contracts have been awarded as part of KiwiRail’s Auckland Metro Rail Programme.

The programme focuses on executing key upgrades to the current rail network prior to the opening of the City Rail Link, which is said to be Auckland’s largest-ever transport infrastructure project.

Jacobs will also work as lead designer for the Wiri to Quay Park project and be responsible for multisectoral engineering and architectural services.

Once built, the additional track, running from South to Central Auckland, is expected to reduce congestion.

Jacobs executive vice-president Patrick Hill said: “An upgraded rail network is critical to alleviating congestion and unlocking growth in the region.”

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Furthermore, Jacobs has collaborated with John Holland; McConnell Dowell; and Novare to provide design and construction services for the Papakura to Pukekohe Rail Electrification project.

Two more platforms at Pukekohe station will be built under this project, along with the electrification of 19km of track.

During the construction stage, Jacobs will offer detailed design and management, surveillance and quality assurance (MSQA) services.

After the electrification of the line, commuters will be able to travel directly to the city from Pukekohe instead of changing trains at Papakura.

KiwiRail capital projects COO David Gordon said: “The network enables people to make 21.4 million trips a year and, once the City Rail Link projects are finished, we expect another jump in commuter numbers as people recognise the benefits of rail commuting.”

Separately, the New Zealand Government has announced funding to modernise the rail line north of Whangārei and construct a 19km rail line between Whangārei and Northport.

These projects will be implemented under the New Zealand Upgrade Programme.

Last month, the government allocated nearly $935m (NZD1.3bn) for the region’s rail development in Budget 2021.