Safety at centre of Auckland Metro rail network improvements
8 November 2019
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency, the regulator of New Zealand’s rail system, has worked with rail participants to make sure the Auckland Metro rail network will be brought up to standard.
“Combined day-time walking inspections in September and October have given all rail participants – KiwiRail, Auckland Transport and TransDev Auckland – a much clearer picture of the state of the network,” General Manager, Regulatory Services, Kane Patena says.
“These walking inspections arose after separate reports identified shortcomings in the current maintenance and inspection programme, particularly around up-close inspections made by staff walking the tracks during the day time.
“KiwiRail staff have been able to attend to some of these faults immediately as a result of these day-time inspections, improving and keeping the lines safe for passengers on the Auckland Metro network.
“These day-time walking inspections will continue to ensure maintenance standards are kept at a high standard. There may be some disruptions due to increased inspections, but this is to make sure passengers get safely to their destination.
“A total of 34 faults were found during the inspections. Most of those faults (20) were able to be repaired or remedied on the same day, while others have mitigations put in place until a permanent fix is made.
“This may also result in disruptions such as speed restrictions on some lines and ‘block of line’ (when a section of line is closed off temporarily) but will also result in a safer network.
“While the maintenance of the Auckland lines rests with KiwiRail, all participants have obligations to meet under the Railways Act and their actions have a part to play in the state of the network.
“Rail is a key part of the commuter network in Auckland, and it’s important the infrastructure is maintained to a level where commuters can have peace of mind about their safety as they go about their daily commute.
“There may be disruptions to commuters from any increased inspections or maintenance work needed to be completed to address the recommendations in our report. This is to make sure they get safely to their destination.
“We’re aware of the implications and effects of imposing conditions, but this is for the benefit of everyone – not just those who use the network, but all Aucklanders who travel in one way or another. This is part of our role as a firm and fair regulator with a guiding principle of putting safety at the front of everything we do.”