Tuesday 27th Oct, 2020

KiwiRail shuts down Auckland’s Southern Line for four weeks of repairs

A four-week shutdown of the Southern Line between Newmarket and Penrose will allow for major upgrades of the Auckland network.

Recent testing found that the Auckland rail network was in worse shape than previously thought, with more than 100km of rail needing replacement or repair.

KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle said the focus was on rehabilitating the line as fast as possible.

“Our focus is to get this project completed as quickly as possible to minimise overall disruption for passengers.”

The Eastern line between Otahuhu and Britomart recently went through a similar four-week shutdown for repairs.

“Our teams have been working around the clock on the Eastern Line since mid-August and by the end of this week will have laid nearly 17km of new rail and more than 19,000 new sleepers,” said Moyle, who emphasised the benefits of a full shut down over shorter track possessions.

“That round the clock access allows for a very productive work programme. Each four-week block of line gives us a 20 per cent increase in productive working times, compared with two separate two- week blocks, and means we can complete all necessary work in each section in the shortest possible time. By comparison, work done piecemeal at nights or over weekends would take months to complete, prolonging overall disruption to commuters.”

Moyle said that the next line to be shut down will be the Western Line, based on agreements with Auckland Transport.

“We are currently developing a programme that will primarily focus on working progressively along the Southern Line over the next three months, before moving to the Western line,” he said.

Across the entire Auckland network, a speed restructure of 40km/h is in place. Auckland Transport has put in place a revised 20-minute timetable while the works are underway.

Moyle said that efforts would be made to minimise the impact of the works on those living in the vicinity of the corridor.

“We know that when working around the clock KiwiRail creates disruption and inconvenience for people who live near the work activity. We do our best to minimise disturbance and, once again, are grateful for the public’s forbearance.”

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