KiwiRail Conducting Track Maintenance During Period of Reduced Commuting

The Northern Explorer prepares to leave Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2018. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

KiwiRail said it is taking advantage of reduced commuting on the Auckland network to conduct track maintenance.

Crews usually conduct the majority of work around Auckland overnight or on the weekends to minimize disruption to commuters.

However, because of COVID-19, KiwiRail is laying more than four kilometers of new rail on the heavily used line.

“We are able to use this time to carry out a great deal of work in a short timeframe,” Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle said in a news release. “Normally this work would need to be completed during weekends across several months.

“We’ve worked closely with Auckland Transport to arrange for this work to be done now so there will be a more reliable network for commuters once COVID-19 levels fall and businesses reopen,” Moyle added.

Crews will replace sections of worn rail between Glen Innes and Sylvia Park on the Eastern line.

“The Eastern line is important for both the city’s commuters and Ports of Auckland’s rail freight which heads out to the rest of the country along this route,” Moyle said.

“We’ve been able to master safe working practices for the team on the ground, who are specialised at this kind of work which corrects ongoing wear and tear to the track,” Moyle added. “Our track workers will be geared up with personal protective gear and construction activities will take place under strict physical distancing measures.”

While the trackwork is being carried out, freight services for Ports of Auckland are running via Newmarket during the day, while freight services at night will operate along the Eastern line. Commuter services are being replaced with buses.

“We’re doing this work now, while we have the opportunity, to avoid future disruptions to commuters and to ensure they get a great service once they return to work,” Moyle said.

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