Below Rail Infrastructure, Passenger Rail

Auckland track wearing faster with increased services, newer trains

CAF AM class train Auckland. Photo: Creative Commons / Dc4444

Track owner KiwiRail will conduct a 200-kilometre walking inspection of Auckland’s metro network to assess the accelerated wear and tear caused by increased passenger rail traffic.

The inspection period will begin on September 21, and will result in some services being replaced by trains, KiwiRail chief operating officer Todd Moyle warned.

“The on-foot inspection is expected to cover up to 78 kilometres per shift,” Moyle said. “We have brought in teams from around the country to ensure the work is don as quickly as possible with up to 14 walking inspectors per shift.”

Moyle noted with record growth in public transport demand, Auckland’s railways now see more than 3,800 passenger services and 246 freight trains each week.

“This level of traffic, and a newer rollingstock, have created accelerated wear and tear to Auckland’s metro network, in the same way that tar-seal on busy roads becomes worn over time.”

Increased inspections are an important part of KiwiRail’s commitment to upgrade Auckland’s rail network, Moyle said.

“In the last three months, we have re-railed 12 kilometres of track, compared to our usual rate re-railing around 25 kilometres per year nationally.”

KiwiRail, a state-owned enterprise, owns and manages New Zealand’s rail networks, including the Auckland metropolitan network, to agreed levels of service to enable delivery of the specified commuter services.

Those services are specified and procured by Auckland Transport, which also owns and maintains the trains and the stations on the network. CAF maintains the rollingstock on Auckland Transport’s behalf.