New Zealand has introduced the first Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP) worth $907m (NZD1.3bn) to uphold and enhance rail lines across the country over the next three years.

The programme outlines KiwiRail’s work that would be executed between mid-2021 and 2024 in compliance with the government direction stated in the NZ Rail Plan.

The work needs to be approved by the Minister of Transport and is being financially backed by the National Land Transport Fund.

KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller said: “This plan has major benefits for KiwiRail, will create and sustain jobs, and will help ensure New Zealand’s exports and domestic freight get where they need to go.

“It covers the important work of replacing aging bridges, worn-out tracks and the civil works necessary to ensure that our national rail network is up to standard so that the thousands of train services we run are reliable.”

The rail operator will help in minimising New Zealand’s transport emissions by 70%.

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Miller further added: “Having a solid plan also gives KiwiRail a massive procurement advantage. The best way to use capital is to carefully plan spending. For example, the RNIP means we can purchase some materials needed in bulk three years at a time, which helps manage costs.”

Some of the rail works that will be implemented by KiwiRail under the plan include signals upgrades on the Auckland metro network, a new Auckland rail management facility and an additional traction feed to support City Rail Link.

In Northland, the company will completely replace two bridges (195CA north of Kauri, 136 just south of Maungaturoto) and carry out resilience works on 210 bridge in Otiria.

In Southland, track and structures across the Ohai Line will be renewed.

Along with civil works to improve formations, the work will also involve 7km of re-sleepering, 5km of re-railing and three turnout replacements.

In May, KiwiRail unveiled details of a redevelopment project for its Hillside railway workshop, which will commence this year.