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KiwiRail opens engagement for $1bn works pipeline

KiwiRail Auckland Metro network

KiwiRail will hold an industry engagement session for companies to get involved with upgrades and new builds on the Auckland Metro projects portfolio.

Held on December 18, the market engagement event will provide an update on projects in New Zealand’s largest city, as well as a high-level overview of procurement packages coming to market in 2021.

“KiwiRail is working closely with local and central Government to deliver the projects required to support growth on Auckland’s metro network in the foreseeable future,” said KiwiRail chief operating officer capital projects David Gordon.

KiwiRail is carrying out major works on the Auckland Metro network to improve capacity for freight and passenger traffic while providing direct connections through extending the electrified network by 19km from Papakura to Pukekohe.

“We will be building an extra main line, known as the “Third Main,” to give commuter and freight trains separate tracks on the busiest part of the network,” said Gordon. “Works are planned for Westfield and Wiri junctions, Middlemore to Wiri and in the Quay Park (Ports of Auckland).”

Contractors have already been appointed for the Third Main project and the electrification works however KiwiRail is also in the pre-procurement phase for other projects.

“We’re planning for future southern stations and future power supply needs to support the growth in traffic forecast across Auckland,” said Gordon.

KiwiRail has also opened a registration of interest (ROI) for providers of electrical maintenance services for the Auckland Metro traction system. The contract runs from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2027. The ROI will lead to a closed request for tender process.

In the tender briefing documents, KiwiRail notes that some or all of the services will be brought in house potentially over the course of the contract, meaning the provider will be required to train and work with KiwiRail staff.

The investments in the Auckland network are part of wider billion-dollar spending on rail in New Zealand. In the 2020 budget, the NZ government allocated NZ$1.2 billion ($1.11bn) to rail works.

In late November, KiwiRail resumed log trains on the Wairoa-Napier line. Previously damaged and subsequently closed in 2012, KiwiRail rebuilt the line with $6.2m from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Now, the line has the capacity to handle 24 wagons of logs, taking 24 trucks off the road.

“Moving more logs by rail instead of trucks reduces road maintenance costs and congestion and improves road safety – particularly on regional roads like those between Napier and Wairoa which were not designed for heavy trucks,” said KiwiRail COO Todd Moyle.

“Given trains have 70 per cent fewer emissions than trucks per tonne of freight, it also helps reduce transport emissions.”

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