The Government of New Zealand has announced it will fund four rail projects as part of the NZD12bn ($7.83bn) New Zealand upgrade programme.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern made the announcement. The programme includes projects to construct and upgrade roads, rail, schools and hospitals across the country.

It has allocated NZD315m ($205.6m) to improve the Wiri to Quay Park Corridor in Auckland.

It expects the construction of a third rail line to relieve the bottleneck between Wiri and Westfield. Additional capacity will also be provided near the Westfield Junction.

Work to electrify a 19km section of the Auckland metro network from Papakura to Pukekohe will receive a NZD371m ($242.1m) investment.

KiwiRail will receive NZD211m ($137.7m) to improve the Wellington, Wairarapa and Palmerston North networks.

The work includes Wairarapa and Capital Connection track upgrades, as well as safety connections and the overhaul of Capital Connection carriages.

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The government has allocated approximately NZD247m ($161.2m) to develop the Drury railway station. It will also use these funds for two new stations, Drury East and Drury West.

This is expected to boost the transport access and convenience of the region.

Minister for State-Owned Enterprises Winston Peters stated: “This Government has a bold vision for rail. We said we would address the appalling history of under-investment in our rail system over the last three decades, and we are well on track to achieve that.

“Rail is a national strategic asset and strong investment is a no brainer. These projects will enable KiwiRail to deliver effective rail services and get our cities moving. A well-maintained reliable rail system reduces road congestion and road maintenance costs seriously lowers carbon emissions, and allows for large volumes of freight across the country.”

Last year, the government allocated NZD1bn ($651m) in the latest national budget to improve railway infrastructure.