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Full Rail Network Rebuild Work To Be Carried Out Between Papakura And Pukekohe

KiwiRail will be able to carry out the full upgrade and renewals work needed on the track between Papakura and Pukekohe while it is still closed for other improvement work.

This section of Auckland’s network has been closed since September 2022, for the $419 million project to extend the overhead electricity from Papakura to Pukekohe.

It was expected to open to commuter trains by the end of 2024 and will now remain closed for a short while longer, until after the annual Christmas network-wide closure, and reopen around mid-January 2025.

KiwiRail Chief Asset Development Officer David Gordon says this will deliver a good outcome for the public.

“The electrification work will be completed on time but we’re able to keep the line closed to commuter trains for a little longer so our major Rail Network Rebuild (RNR) can be carried out.

“I appreciate that people are looking forward to the trains starting but waiting a little longer will avoid major inconvenience later.”

“The Rail Network Rebuild is crucial work being carried out across Auckland to improve reliability and enable more frequent trains across the city when the City Rail Link opens.

“This labour-intensive work involves removing the existing tracks and digging down up to a metre to replace the aging rock foundations under the tracks, as well as improving drainage and replacing work rail, sleepers and ballast.

“It just makes sense to get the rebuild work done before the line between Papakura and Pukekohe reopens to commuter trains. When services resume people will no longer have to change trains at Papakura, which will make their journeys easier. To start these new services only to have to stop them again at a later date would be more frustrating and create unnecessary disruption.”

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Electrification work is nearing completion and the Rail Network Rebuild work will begin in May. Stage 3 of RNR is being carried out on the Western Line until May, as well as drainage improvements between Puhinui and Papakura.

Franklin Councillor and AT Board Director Andy Baker says the fact that further RNR work is being brought forward for the Papakura to Pukekohe stretch of the Southern Line is good news for the Franklin community.

“During my time on the AT Board I’ve seen a lot of benefits of taking a ‘dig-once’ approach to projects where you get in and do the job right from the get-go so you don’t muck communities around with multiple disruptions,” Mr Baker says.

“This news means that Franklin residents will have a faster, safer, quicker and more reliable service from day one of electric trains running from Pukekohe in January 2025, without the need for invasive RNR work later on.

“Our community has been hugely patient since the last of the diesel shuttles from Papakura to Pukekohe was retired in August 2022 and I’m really looking forward electric trains smashing Franklin residents’ commute times from January.

“In the meantime AT’s customers in Franklin can still take the 394 bus between Pukekohe and Papakura stations, with buses running every 15-20mins at peak times and every 30mins at other times,” Mr Baker says.

Buses replaced the old diesel Papakura - Pukekohe diesel train in September 2022 and will continue running until the RNR work is done.

The electrification project will allow the same electric trains that run on the rest of the Auckland network to travel to and from Pukekohe. KiwiRail is also building three new stations in this section, to support housing growth in the southern part of the city.

More information about the range of rail improvement work in Auckland is available at:

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