Auckland Metro Programme to electrify Papakura and Pukekohe rail line
KiwiRail’s electrification project of the rail line between Papakura and Pukekohe has been approved by an independent panel, under COVID-19 fast-track legislation.
The Auckland Metro Programme, a more than $1.5 billion series of projects, aims to remodel the rail network in New Zealand’s biggest city. The approval considered the application for resource consents for the main works including: masts, overhead wiring, signal work and improving five level crossings along the 19km route. The main objectives for the new development is to allow for faster, quieter and cleaner commuter trains.
Todd Moyle, Acting Group Chief Executive of KiwiRail, said: “It’s a significant day for improving rail in Auckland. This project will be hugely beneficial for Aucklanders, especially people who live in this growing part of the city. Passengers will be able to travel all the way to the city centre from Pukekohe without the need to change trains at Papakura.”
“We are also taking the opportunity to do some improvements to the tracks at the same time. When completed, travel times will be reduced making travel by rail an even more attractive option for commuters and other passengers. It’s all part of the government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by investing in rail through the NZ Upgrade Programme. Unfortunately, disruption is inevitable and KiwiRail will work with AT on how best to manage this. We are committed to keeping the public informed. KiwiRail appreciates the public’s patience as we work in a narrow corridor which, unlike the road network, offers few options for detours and diversions,” added Todd.
In addition to electrification, the programme will maximise the benefits of the City Rail Link by improving capacity for freight and passenger services, through developing a third main rail line to separate the different services. Furthermore, the proposal aims to establish track improvements throughout the Auckland network, as well as three new train stations between Papakura and Pukekohe.
COVID-19 fast-track legislation
As part of the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020, which provides for a short-term consenting process to fast track projects that can boost employment and economic recovery, KiwiRail and its contractor eTRACS engaged directly with Mana Whenua (stakeholders and lineside neighbours).
With main works on the electrification of Papakura and Pukekohe due to begin later in 2021, it is anticipated that the first electric train will run between Papakura and Pukekohe in 2024.