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Heavy work programme planned over holidays

Media Release

November 27 2008

For immediate release

Heavy work programme planned over holidays for Auckland rail network

Auckland's rail network will be the scene of intense activity over the New Year as ONTRACK takes advantage of the quiet holiday period to carry out a heavy programme of construction and maintenance.

Hundreds of staff will work throughout this time, while most other people are on holiday.

Large sections of Auckland's rail network will be closed to trains during the three-week period to allow the work to be done, and an extensive programme of rail-bus replacements will be run instead.

The works are part of Project DART, the $600 million redevelopment that is transforming Auckland's rail network. The busiest sites will be in Newmarket, Avondale and New Lynn where teams will work around the clock during the three week period from Boxing Day until January 18.

Project DART director Ted Calvert says the heavy holiday period work load is designed to get as much work done as possible with minimal disruption to commuter and freight rail traffic.

"It is impossible to carry out the scale of work such as that needed here in Auckland without creating some disruption to train services - there is some work that we simply can not do while trains are running on the network.

"As we don't have the option of sending trains on an alternative route we need to choose times to carry out this work when fewest people are using the services.

Such intensive activity will be commonplace on the network in the coming years. ONTRACK, KiwiRail, Auckland Regional Transport Authority and Veolia Transport are working together to achieve the best outcomes for all rail users, Mr Calvert said.

There was a similar network shutdown over a two-week period last year to allow for construction.

The key elements of the DART project include the redevelopment of Newmarket station and junction; the duplication of the Western line. Since the DART project began in 2006, about 13 kilometres of the western line has been double tracked, leading to significant timetable improvements.

A summary of the work to be carried out is as follows:

Newmarket - major track-work through the new station and junction area. These works will take the full three weeks to complete. Preparatory works for the replacement of Remuera Rd bridge

Newmarket's Western Line (Khyber Pass Rd area) - On-going works to replace the road-rail bridges - Park and Khyber Pass Rds. Work to lower and widen the narrow cutting between Khyber Pass and Park Rds to prepare for electrification, double tracking and the new re-located station. Construction of two temporary platforms for Boston Rd station

Avondale - construction of two temporary platforms; earthworks lowering the tracks under Blockhouse Bay Bridge, for double tracking and electrification and preparation for the new station.

New Lynn - trench wall construction and interim roundabout preparation at Rankin Ave. Stormwater drainage and formation construction of western end.

Quay Park - works which will improve traffic flows into Britomart.

Eastern Line - track improvements at the Purewa Tunnel.

Helensville area - replacing two bridges with culverts.

Regionwide - maintenance and renewal works on the tracks and at level crossings (pedestrian and vehicle). Some works in advance of electrification.

ENDS

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