After briefly mentioning the upcoming rail network upgrades that will be happening in the holidays, I thought it would make some sense to expand a bit upon what they will be. ARTA has a useful summary of them:

Newmarket – major work to build the new track layout through the new station and junction area.  The works in the junction area will take the full three weeks to complete, as this involves the pouring of a large amount of cement to enable the continued construction of the new station.

Boston Rd – construction of two new temporary platforms. Work to lower and widen land around tracks to prepare for electrification, double tracking and the new re-located station.

Avondale – construction of two new temporary platforms. Earthworks to prepare for double tracking, the future re-located station and electrification.

New Lynn – building new interim roundabout. Trench wall construction will continue.

Quay Park – works to reconfigure the tracks, in preparation for future signalling works which will allow for the continued improvement of rail services into Britomart.

Eastern Line – new drainage installed at the Glen Innes 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.

The first 5 are most interseting, as the drainage near Glen Innes, the culverts near Helensville and a bit of routine maintenance around the network aren’t particularly exciting.

The Newmarket station redevelopment seems to have progressed pretty damn well over the past few months. There’s a fair bit of information availabe on the redevelopment of the station here, and a really awesome looking render included below:


A few photos of how the construction is going can be found here:

So hopefully once Newmarket is finished (and the holiday shut down should aid in speeding up its construction) we’ll have two proper railway stations in Auckland (with Britomart being the other, of course). The success of Britomart in growing rail patronage suggests to me that the quality of a station really does impact upon the likeliness of people to use it. Newmarket’s a strong growth area: both commercially and residentially, so I certainly hope that the railway station helps increase patronage over the next few years once it’s complete.

The Boston Road/Khyber Pass Road project is essentially finishing off one of the last two spots where the Western Line is a single-track. ONTRACK left the trickiest little bits to last, as two overhead road-bridges need to be reconstructed as part of this fairly small project. Importantly, the project also includes the slight relocation of the Boston Road station, out from underneath the motorway and closer to the hospital. Hopefully that also helps grow patronage to what could be a pretty busy station in the future.

The Avondale project is just down the road from where I work, so it should be pretty easy for me to take a number of photos throughout the next few weeks showing how progress is going. The lowering of the track through Avondale appears to be an important first step in the electrification project (as the track needs to be lower so the wires can fit underneath Blockhouse Bay Road. It’s also a step towards finally relocating Avondale’s train station to a spot that is actually sensical. The current station is located quite near the town centre, but involves a stupidly long round-about walk in order to get there from the station. The new station will be located properly, and Avondale has the potential to become a pretty busy station in the future (especially if Auckland City Council has some guts for once and lets intensification take place there).

At New Lynn, work on the trench that will take the train line underneath the roads, and allow for double-tracking, seems like it will continue. I had lunch at New Lynn today and the whole railway area has changed vastly in the past few months. Apparently it’ll be another year before they really start digging out the trench, as at the moment all the piles are being driven to form the edges of it, but this is one project that will be very interesting to watch evolve. Anything will be better than the current Clark Street roundabout, so I’m curious how this temporary roundabout will work.

And finally, the Quay Park works are interseting, mainly because I haven’t really heard much about this project. I assume it’s largely signal and points upgrades that will eventually help both of the tracks that lead into Britomart to become bi-directional (therefore increasing the capacity of the tunnel and Britomart station). Of course the only real solutions to improving the capacity of this obvious bottleneck in the network is to 4-track the tunnel, or even more ideally build the CBD loop. But both are massive projects that will take a long time to be implemented (although planning for them should continue as quickly as possible) so hopefully the Quay Park work will help ease pressure in the meanwhile.

So, overall it will be interesting to see what happens in the next while. 2009 looks like it’ll be another pretty busy year for rail developments in Auckland.

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