All metro rail lines on Auckland’s network shut down on December 26, for KiwiRail’s summer maintenance period, which has been the case for many years. They reopened from mid-January in stages.
Eastern Line upgrades were completed after it had been closed for eight months.
Jon Knight, KiwiRail’s general manager metros, told Newshub they’re making good progress on Auckland’s $1.5b worth of rail upgrades.
“Over the Christmas break we had one of our biggest work blocks ever – with around 1500 staff and contractors undertaking project and maintenance work at 89 worksites across the network.”
But KiwiRail also had to do work on its $330m Rail Network Rebuild (RNR), in preparation for the City Rail Link (CRL), expected to open 2026.
RNR work includes replacing track foundations, sleepers, drainage, and other crucial upgrades.
In 2021, then-Minister of Transport Michael Wood announced a $1.3b investment into Aotearoa’s rail network, over three years.
KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller said at the time the ‘Rail Plan’ gave long-term certainty, “instead of having to go to the Government every 12 months for funding to maintain the network”.
Other summer maintenance included signal upgrades at Wiri, plus track and civil work at Waitematā Station, Quay Park, and Newmarket.
Knight told Newshub the summer works were designed to improve the network and prepare it for more frequent trains once the CRL opens.
“We’re also developing a new, more proactive, technology-led approach to network maintenance which will be needed to keep the network up to standard once more trains are running,” he added.