Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters
  • Hon Phil Twyford
Deputy Prime Minister State Owned Enterprises Transport

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city.

Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project at the Southdown rail terminal in Onehunga, which is the first NZ Upgrade Programme project to get shovels in the ground. Other major KiwiRail-led projects in Auckland will begin in the coming months and help with the economic recovery.

Winston Peters said the Government is building a strong platform for recovery after going hard and early on the health response to the pandemic.

“We’re getting rail back on track and that’s good for businesses, communities and commuters.

“We are investing more than $1.1 billion 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 100 kilometre network.

“Hundreds of local contractors will be needed for this work and there will be spin-off benefits for local businesses, from lunch bars to local hardware stores. The vast majority of the materials used will be coming from the Auckland region – that’s creating work for quarries, concrete suppliers, steel fabricators and drainage companies.

“It adds up to money in the pockets of local businesses and workers exactly when they need it most,” Winston Peters said.

Phil Twyford said the projects put Auckland on the twin track of recovery and good growth.

“Not only are we creating jobs, we are also making sure that commuter rail is in place to support urban growth south of Auckland. To reduce congestion and emissions we know trains need to be reliable and easy for people to access, and that’s what these upgrades will do.

“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.

“Auckland is already the busiest rail freight corridor in New Zealand, with around six million tonnes coming to, from or across the city each year - the equivalent of 400,000 truck trips. This work will make freight services more reliable and make our roads safer by taking trucks off them and moving more freight to rail.

“We’re rolling out infrastructure to create jobs as part of our Government’s five point plan for economic recovery, and the NZ Upgrade Programme is a big part of that,” Phil Twyford said.

Three of the KiwiRail projects are funded through the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme to help future proof the economy, get our cities moving, and make our roads safer, and the fourth through Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency:

  • The Third Main (rail line between Wiri and Quay Park) - $315 million (NZUP)
  • Extending overhead electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe  - $371 million (NZUP)
  • Building two new train stations, park and ride and bus connections in Drury - $247 million (NZUP)
  • Wider Auckland network renewals, including replacing 60 kilometres of worn out track, tens of thousands of sleepers, and over a hundred thousand tonnes of trackbed - $183 million (NZTA)

Construction on the NZUP projects is expected to finish in 2024 before the City Rail Link is finished. The wider Auckland renewals work has already started and will continue over the next four years.