Plan to unlock rail’s potential for Northland

The potential for upgrading and expanding rail north of Auckland will be investigated, as part of a package of improvements to help Northland’s growth, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones have announced.

“This Government believes that rejuvenating and expanding the North Auckland rail line could help unlock the region’s export potential,” Phil Twyford said.

“The business case will test this and determine the appetite for rail as a viable option for transporting freight in and out of the region. It will also investigate whether the upgrade could include a new spur line to Marsden Point to support Northport’s growth,” Phil Twyford said.

“The existing sections of the line are in poor condition or not in use. The business case will weigh the costs and benefits of upgrading them to modern freight standards.

“Northland businesses, iwi and local government will be consulted to see if there is demand for an improved rail freight service that aligns with the region’s development priorities,” Phil Twyford said.

“This Government has big plans for regional rail as a way of improving connectivity, creating jobs and getting trucks off the road,” Shane Jones said.

“Almost all of Northland’s freight leaves the region by road. Around 1,185 heavy vehicles a day travel on State Highway 1 between Northland and Auckland, and truck numbers are increasing.

“A reliable, resilient rail connection would take some of this freight off the road in both Northland and Auckland and help increase the flow of products in and out of the region,” Shane Jones said.

The $500,000 cost of the business case will be paid for from the Provincial Growth Fund.