New Zealand has begun the enabling works for the third main rail line project at the Southdown rail terminal, Onehunga, Auckland, as a part of the NZ Upgrade Programme (NZUP).
The start of the rail projects was marked by New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
It is the first project as part of the programme and other KiwiRail-led projects in the city are expected to commence in the coming months.
Peters said: “We’re getting rail back on track and that’s good for businesses, communities and commuters.
“We are investing more than NZD1.1bn ($732.2m) to make sure Auckland’s rail network is fit-for-purpose through constructing the new third main rail line, extending track electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe, building new train stations to meet growth in Drury, and doing crucial upgrades across the 100km network.”
Twyford added: “Building the third main rail line will remove a key bottleneck for freight and commuter services, as well as give more capacity for the increased services expected once the City Rail Link is completed.
“The CRL, along with the other upgrades, will shave off up to an hour of the daily commute for thousands of people.”
Through the NZD12bn ($7.98bn) New Zealand Upgrade Programme, three projects of KiwiRail are funded while the fourth project is funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
The NZD315m ($209.6m) Third Main rail line between Wiri and Quay Park, the NZD371m ($247m) extension of overhead electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe, and the NZD247m ($164.3m) construction of two stations and connections in Drury are funded by NZUP.
The NZ Transport Agency will finance the wider Auckland network renewals, which includes the replacement of 60km of worn-out track, sleepers and trackbed under an NZD183m ($121.7m) project.
The work on the NZUP projects is slated to complete in 2024, ahead of the City Rail Link. The renewal work has commenced and will continue for the next four years.
Last September, the New Zealand Government revealed plans to invest NZD94.8m ($60.9m) to upgrade the North Auckland Line between Swanson and Whangarei in Northland.