NZ delivers better rail network with new programme
The New Zealand Government is fulfilling its plans to improve the country’s rail network with the Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP).
Transport Minister Michael Wood has just announced the release of KiwiRail’s inaugural RNIP, which details renewals and upgrades on key infrastructure over the next three years.
Under the RNIP, around twenty-five bridges across the country will be improved. Another twenty bridges will be completely replaced due to their infrastructure.
More than 200km of rail sleepers and 130km of tracks will be replaced under the Programme, and active controls such as barrier arms, lights and bells will be added to three level crossings. Twenty-five level crossings will also be improved through renewals.
The Auckland metro network will have its signals upgraded under the Programme. A new Auckland train control centre and an additional power supply into the network will also be added to support the increase of train frequency with the City Rail Link.
The RNIP will allow the Government to invest in a business case for further network improvements across Wellington. This will include looking at potentially extending electrification north of Waikanae to Levin and beyond.
Minister Wood believes that the rail network should be rescued from its declining state since it is key to supporting the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The disruptions to the supply chain due to COVID have shown how important it is to have a reliable rail network to keep freight flowing, which keeps our economy moving. This $1.3 billion investment is about lifting our national rail network to a resilient and reliable standard,” Minister Wood said.
“It is enabling KiwiRail to take on around 150 new track staff, including a pipeline of trainees, and will also support numerous civil contracting firms and material suppliers. There will be work happening across every region, supporting jobs and the economic recovery across the country.”
New Zealand’s rail network is worth up to $2.1 billion to its economy. It also prevents 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and 26 million car trips in Auckland and Wellington every year.