The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZ Transport Agency) has allocated more than NZ$96m ($62.06m) to upgrade the Wairarapa rail line in a bid to improve transportation and tourism in the Wellington region.

The funding forms part of the government’s NZ$16.9bn ($10.93bn) transport investment under the National Land Transport Programme to bolster rail and road network across the country.

New Zealand Minister for Transport Phil Twyford opined that the Wairarapa investment will help to prevent further deterioration and service disruptions on the line.

Twyford said: “Passengers have a right to expect a safe and reliable service, and this investment will ensure the long-term future of this route.

“Passengers have a right to expect a safe and reliable service, and this investment will ensure the long-term future of this route.”

“It also highlights the importance our Government places on public transport.”

The total investment consists of NZ$50m ($32.3m) for track infrastructure works, and NZ$46.2m ($29.9m) for the rail line south of the Rimutaka Hill tunnel as well as for double-tracking works between Trentham and Upper Hutt.

New Zealand’s state-owned agency for rail operations KiwiRail also welcomed the investment.

KiwiRail acting chief executive David Gordon said: “The network is ageing and parts of it are nearing the end of their useful life, which means there have to be speed restrictions and more likelihood of delays.

“This funding will allow KiwiRail to get the network up to standard and make improvements that will allow for more and longer trains.”

Overall, New Zealand allocated a total of NZ$196m ($126.7m) to upgrade rail infrastructure across the Wellington region. Construction at the Wairarapa rail line forms part of this investment and is scheduled to begin in April next year.