Kiwirail gave an update to the transport committee last week on progress with electrification in Auckland. Some of it was fairly detailed and it used a lot of acronyms but I will try to pull out the bits that I think are interesting or important. First up there are still a handful of projects that are still going on as part of Project DART which was the project that also included double tracking of the western line. There may be a little bit of a typo on here though as my understanding is the Britomart arrangement is happening over Christmas this year and that is also what is mentioned later on in the document.

Further on it is mentioned that all of the bridge clearances have now been resolved with the exception of the works associated with AMETI which we heard will be resolved over Christmas this year. Signalling has also been completed although there still work to be done around Papakura as the upgrade there continues. When it comes to the overhead wires themselves (traction) it seems like good progress is being made with ~75% of the mast foundations having already been installed and over a third of the masts in place.

It has however taken some to get to this stage so I guess things will go up pretty quickly over the next 10 months as everything is planned to be completed by August next year when the first of our new trains arrive.

We will of course see another large network shut down this year with no trains being able to get to Britomart from Saturday 22nd Of December till Monday 21st of January. There will be some trains running to Newmarket but it will be very similar to last year with shuttles from between there and presumably Grafton to town. I am really looking forward to these long summer shut downs being a thing of the past. Here is the work planned for the shut down this year.

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  1. You forgot the main let down to which Councillor Mike Lee picked up on and questioned the Nick and Rob French of Kiwi Rail quite tersely. The fact that KR are not committing in the slightest connecting Platform Four at Newmarket to the Western Line giving that junction as it was meant to be – Maximum flexibility for South-West services.

  2. Noticed a bit of a porky: the OLE wiring doesn’t extend to Mt Albert. It does on the up line, but as of last night on the down line, the contact wire stops at the Whau bridge although a short section has been done from Woodward Road to Mt Albert. And ‘Contenary’, surely catenary?

    1. Mt Albert Train station is getting a major re-fit in the coming months. Trucks and diggers and workers =! not good to go work under wires, even if not yet electrified.

  3. This seems to imply that all the masts on the Western Line are up but I can see outside my window that that is not the case.

  4. And from what I’ve observed today on the section between New Lynn and Avondale they’re doing absolutely nothing except spraying some weeds which, while commendable and absolutely necessary, rather suggests that they’re not too troubled. Given the general budget overestimates for rail related projects in New Zealand, I’m guessing that they’re going to do it all as overtime at the end of the project just so that the inflated budget looks realistic. Can’t say KiwiRail management is terribly impressive at the moment.

  5. A few negative comments above! On a more positive note, remember (a) the OLE is being installed under contract, with appropriate contractual obligations, (b) the foundations and masts are key; stringing wire is relatively quick, and (c) the two substations and four cross-ties are all built so livening will be straightforward. Finally, the targets under “Traction – next steps” seem realistic: the OBL is fully wired, the NAL well advanced, and even if the balance (eg NBL, NIMT) are not fully completed when the first EMUs arrive there will be plenty of system available to test them on.

    1. Well I have just listened to Jim Quinn on National radio and more visionless and uninspiring attitude towards rail is hard to imagine. He has clearly been put there to manage the reduction of our rail potential to the most minimal state possible. Now idea. And the other two old codgers were all signing from the same defeated position too.

      “Never know, might need the Napier-Gisbourne line in 50 years”

      1. Fair enough, I was just trying to point out that the Auckland electrification project appears to be on target overall. I have no view on the future of KiwiRail as a whole. Also, I’m not sure what Ben was getting at with his comment about Nick & Rob French, but I’m pretty sure they have little influence on the overall design which I think is managed out of Wellington (but I’ve been wrong before!).

      2. I worked with JQ for 2 years. What he has been saying / doing since he was appointed CEO of Kiwirail, doesnt surprise me in the least.

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