Onehunga rail upgrade gets green light

  • Michael Cullen

Passenger and freight trains will return to Auckland's Onehunga line following a multi-million dollar upgrade, Finance Minister Michael Cullen announced today.

"I have given approval for ONTRACK to invest in the upgrading of the Onehunga Branch railway line and additional work associated with the changes needed at the Newmarket Junction," said Dr Cullen.

"This is great news for Onehunga as passenger trains ceased 34 years ago and the line stopped carrying freight last year."

Transport Minister Annette King said the upgrade was another important step in extending the Auckland rail footprint.

"It underlines the Labour-led government's commitment to creating a world class transport network in the city.

"We know there is demand from Onehunga locals for a revitalised passenger connection and it will also assist in moving more freight off Auckland's roads."

Local Labour MPs Phil Goff and Mark Gosche also welcomed the decision.
"We have supported this for some time so it's great news. The upgrade will greatly improve access to public transport for thousands of our constituents and take pressure off already busy roads," they said.

The upgrade will form part of the current projects being carried out in Auckland by ONTRACK and ARTA and funding will come from the $600 million granted by government in December 2005.

Upgrading the line is expected to cost $10 million with platform work and relocation of the old Newmarket station to cost around $5 million.