Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Track Construction, Passenger Rail, Industry Infrastructure

Dual tracks return to Auckland’s Western Line

western line

 

Commuters between West Auckland and Newmarket can now enjoy enjoy a quicker journey thanks to the return of dual tracks on the Western Line.  

The Western Line has been running on a single track through the Maungawhau Station worksite since mid-2020, to allow the City Rail Link (CRL)’s delivery partner, Link Alliance, to rebuild a section of the line while maintaining commuter services. Having a single line running while crews worked on the other has meant that the project could proceed at pace while keeping around 400 workers safe from the risks of a live rail line.  

CRL chief executive Sean Sweeney said the work on the Western Line between Grafton and Kingsland stations was an important component of the overall build, with the rebuilt lines making room for the new City Rail Link lines that would in time take passengers down into the tunnels towards Waitematā Station (Britomart). 

KiwiRail CEO Peter Reidy said the dual tracks would benefit commuters by helping improve travel times and service reliability on the Western Line.

“It is another incremental step towards a world-class rail network for Auckland,” he said.  

“Our teams are working hard across the city on a range of other complementary improvement projects – from our Rail Network Rebuild, which is raising the standards of the tracks across the whole network; building a Third Main Line in South Auckland to better separate commuter and freight trains; extending the electrified network to Papakura; and building new stations to support housing growth around Drury.” 

Auckland Transport’s Public Transport Services executive general manager Stacey van der Putten said Western Line passengers would benefit from meaningful time savings now that trains can use both tracks through Maungawhau Station in Mt Eden. 

“Customers on the Western Line will spend less time travelling as a result of this change, with even more significant time savings in store when the City Rail Link opens,” she said. 

The works involved the replacement of 1.3km of dual track, with the total length of the ballasted track built totalling 2860m, including connections to the City Rail Link lines. 

The rebuilt section of line involved approximately 4375 sleepers, 10,751 tonnes of ballast, 71 sections of 70m-long rail, 50 masts, more than 3.7km of overhead line contact wire and 1.6km of feeder wire.

More than 150,000m3 of spoil was removed for Western Line tracks and the location of new CRL tracks at western and eastern links. Sustainability efforts saw 81,720kgs of temporary prop steel beams on the eastern grade separation sold to a company that will store and resell to another project for re-use. 

When complete and operational, the CRL project will deliver significantly improved travel times for commuters. From Maungawhau Station, it will take only three minutes to get to Karanga-a-Hape Station, six minutes to Te Waihorotiu Station and nine minutes to Waitematā Station (Britomart).