The rail network fully reopens tomorrow following the longest shutdown that I am aware of (yes I am aware that trains have been operating on some sections for a few weeks now). The bit that needed the most time was between Britomart and Newmarket where the tracks needed to be lowered quite a bit to enable a flatter section to be built for the new Parnell station. The works have actually been brought forward by a few years due to the fact they would have become much more expensive if we had waited till after electrification had been completed. Thanks to Geoff in the CBT forum, here are some photos of the works as of Sunday 15/01.

Looking down from the top of the Parnell Tunnel
The site of the new station (the tracks weren't finished at the time)
The new underpass
And from the other side

As you can see there is quite a bit of work that has gone on to lower the tracks through the area and now that the work is finished the station can start to be built. That work is meant to happen over the course of the year with the station itself is not likely to open till the end of the year or early next year, here’s a reminder of what is proposed to eventually be at the site. I would also hope that something is done with the blank walls of the underpass to help keep the graffiti away.

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  1. I sure hope those tracks are going to be straightened, or that it’s some sort of optical illusion – because it looks like one heck of a bumpy ride!

    1. Looks like the tracks needed to be brought into line both vertically and horizontally quite a bit. I guess that’s what a tamper does?

      It’s a bit hard to compare before and afters, but it seems like a lot of work was done over the holiday period – which is very impressive.

      Just a pity the station’s in the wrong place.

  2. The wobbliness of the tracks is exaggerated by the zoom lens that I assume geoff used for the photos but this was also before the line was tamped – which as I understand smooths the base underneath the tracks out and compacts it.

  3. The track looks like the one between London and Cornwall. I took the overnight train once on that route and the rocking, rolling and constant shaking prevented any sleep to be had.

    1. Well I hope the tracks there were better, because I wouldn’t go more than 20km/h on unprepared tracks…
      After riding for years in Italian commuters trains in “normal” tracks, I was impressed two weeks ago on the way to Venice how smooth the tracks were, even if the train was the same old one.
      They re-levelled the tracks for high speed trains and the cheap commuter train I was travelling in (8$ for approx 100 kms) was reaching 160 km/h with almost no vibrations…

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