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Works for Stage 2 Western Line Double Tracking

29 July 2005

Funding Approved for Enabling Works for Stage 2 Western Line Double Tracking

Land Transport New Zealand has approved $4.8 million of funds for the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) to purchase long lead-time items and to undertake enabling works for the Stage 2 of the Western Line double-tracking project.

In addition, the Auckland Regional Council will contribute $3.2 m for the works.

ARTA's Chief Executive Officer, Alan Thompson, said he was "delighted" with the news and appreciative of Land Transport New Zealand's support for the project. Mr Thompson said he expected work on the project to begin in August.

"This includes rail track owner ONTRACK ordering rail materials and relocating signals and signal boxes, as well as preparatory construction work to gain access to key sites," he said.

The Western Line double-tracking project is divided into five stages, which will ultimately see the rail line from Boston Road Station to Swanson double-tracked, and the Newmarket station redeveloped. Stage 2 involves double-tracking lines from New Lynn to Henderson and includes the redevelopment of Fruitvale, Glen Eden, Sunnyvale and Henderson stations.

"Double-tracking of the Western Line will allow trains to travel in both directions simultaneously, thereby avoiding rush-hour bottlenecks. It is also expected to create more reliable and frequent rail services," said Mr Thompson.

Stage 2 will link into the new Waitakere City civic centre and transport interchange being constructed at Henderson.

"Already Aucklanders are reaping the benefits of improvements made following completion of Stage 1 which runs from Boston Road to Kingsland. We expect that Stage 2 will bring even greater benefits including the introduction of more services to and from Henderson and improved reliability," he said.

A total of 358,000 passengers' journeys were made on rail within the Auckland region during June, which is up 29.1% for the same time last year. This brings the total number of journeys for the year ended June 2005 to 3.8 million compared to 3.24 million for the 2004 year.

The construction of Stage 2 is expected to be complete by late 2006.

Mr Thompson said that a funding application covering the remaining construction costs of Stage 2 would be submitted to Land Transport New Zealand in the near future.

"In the meantime, ARTA is working with rail owner ONTRACK in preparing construction tenders," he said.

ENDS



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