- Auckland Transport confirmed to enter stage one for its rail network rebuild.
- Six train stations on the Southern and Onehunga lines will be temporarily closed during stage one.
- These train closures are expected to last from 16 January to 19 March.
A joint media release by Auckland Transport (AT) and KiwiRail on 22 November 2022 stated that the rail network rebuild project is confirmed and has entered stage one. The rail network rebuild, according to Auckland Transport, is an endeavour to upgrade the whole Auckland rail network in order to give its passengers faster travel times as well as more regular and reliable train services.
Auckland Transport confirmed that six stations on the Southern and Onehunga rail lines will be closed between 16 January 2023 and 19 March 2023 as part of this rebuild’s first stage. During stage one of KiwiRail's rail closures, AT also provided details on how passengers on the Auckland rail system will be able to continue travelling.
Details of Auckland rail network rebuild
According to the media release, train services on the Onehunga line and the Southern line between Ōtāhuhu and Newmarket will not be available for two months as part of the rebuild’s stage one from 16 January to 19 March. These train closures will cause six stations – Remuera, Greenlane, Ellerslie, Penrose, Te Papapa and Onehunga to temporarily close.
Approximately 85% of AT’s rail passengers will be able to continue boarding trains for this first stage of the project. Since Southern Line rail services will be rerouted through the Eastern Line, trains will still run between Britomart and most Southern Line stops, allowing all customers travelling between Britomart and stations south of Ōtāhuhu to continue using trains.
KiwiRail management said in a statement that during this time, KiwiRail would be excavating and replacing the rock foundations under the tracks and improving drainage in the rail corridor to prepare the rail network for the more frequent trains to run with CRL (City Rail Link).
While this work is being done, both entities involved have made an effort to cause as little interruption as possible for Auckland's rail consumers. Customers unable to get to and from the six stations where trains won't be running can use a variety of alternative bus routes, including two express services, that AT will provide.
AT also began a customer communications campaign to give impacted customers the knowledge they need to confidently plan their trips when stage one of the rail network rebuild starts in January.
KiwiRail also disclosed the date of its annual Christmas holiday network closure in addition to the stage one preparations. The yearly Christmas shutdown for KiwiRail will occur from 26 December 2022 to 15 January 2023.
All of AT's train services will be substituted by buses throughout the Christmas season. AT is actively collaborating with its rail operator Auckland One Rail to ensure adequate capacity on rail replacement buses.