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Auckland electrification takes a step forward - KiwiRail

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Electrification of the rail line between Papakura and Pukekohe is a step closer with approval today of resource consents for the main works.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the consents for KiwiRail's electrification project in South Auckland under COVID-19 fast-track legislation.

An expert panel appointed by the EPA considered the application for the main works. These include masts, overhead wiring, signal work and improving five level crossings along the 19km route.

The electrification of Auckland's entire metro rail network from Swanson to Papakura was completed in 2015 allowing for faster, quieter and cleaner commuter trains.

It's a significant day for improving rail in Auckland says Acting Group Chief Executive of KiwiRail Todd Moyle.

"This project will be hugely beneficial for Aucklanders, especially people who live in this growing part of the city. Passengers will be able to travel all the way to the city centre from Pukekohe without the need to change trains at Papakura," says Mr Moyle.

"We are also taking the opportunity to do some improvements to the tracks at the same time. When completed, travel times will be reduced making travel by rail an even more attractive option for commuters and other passengers.

"It's all part of the Government's commitment to reducing carbon emissions by investing in rail through the NZ Upgrade Programme.

"Unfortunately, disruption is inevitable and KiwiRail will work with AT on how best to manage this. We are committed to keeping the public informed. KiwiRail appreciates the public's patience as we work in a narrow corridor which, unlike the road network, offers few options for detours and diversions."

KiwiRail's Auckland Metro Programme is a more than $1.5 billion series of projects to modernise the rail network in New Zealand's biggest city. In addition to the electrification, it includes three new train stations between Papakura and Pukekohe, a third main line to separate freight and passenger services as well as track improvements throughout the Auckland network.

This programme will maximise the benefits of the City Rail Link by improving capacity for freight and passenger services.

Main works on the electrification of Papakura to Pukekohe will begin later this year. It is anticipated that the first electric train will run between Papakura and Pukekohe in 2024.

The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 provides for a short-term consenting process to fast track projects that can boost employment and economic recovery.

KiwiRail and its contractor eTRACS, engaged directly with Mana Whenua, stakeholders and lineside neighbours as part of the fast-track consenting process.

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