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Rail construction likely after funding announced

2 March 2005

More rail construction likely after funding announced

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) is welcoming a $1.87 million grant from Land Transport NZ to fund planning for the second stage of double-tracking of the Western Rail Line.

ARTA is leading a scheme to improve rail services across the Auckland region, and has managed the first stage of double tracking between Mt Eden and Morningside, which was completed this month.

The work, which was started by the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) last year, is being carried out in stages and will eventually lay a second track along the line to Swanson over several years.

The ARTA Rail General Manager, Elena Trout, says the second stage, between New Lynn and Henderson, will allow an increased number of peak-hour trains between Henderson and Britomart as well as reducing the likelihood for delays along the line.

“The demand for rail services is increasing, and we need to run more trains to West Auckland to keep up with passenger numbers. The double-tracking will solve a lot of the problems we face with Western services because it lets trains travel in both directions at once, avoiding rush-hour bottlenecks.”

She says the funds will pay for the detailed planning and design work for the next phase of construction. “This announcement is a real boost for ARTA’s plans to upgrade the Western Rail Line. It means we can now thoroughly investigate the scope of the Stage Two programme and gather detailed cost estimates for its completion. We will then seek further funds from Land Transport NZ and the ARC for the construction work.”

The planning for Stage Two has an estimated cost of around $2.5 million, and covers work on tracks and signals to be carried out by the New Zealand Railway Corporation, assessments of stations by the Auckland Regional Transport Network Limited, and civil engineering work which will go to tender.

Land Transport NZ has agreed to pay 75% of this cost, with the remaining funds being sought from the Auckland Regional Council.

The Stage Two double-tracking project will be integrated with Waitakere City Council’s civic centre and Henderson Station construction project.

Construction work will begin mid 2005, pending final construction funding approval.

ENDS

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