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As the annual rail network closure approaches Auckland Transport, Public Transport Operations Manager, Mark Lambert looks back on the many rail improvements made during the year.
“We’re making good progress with our upgrade programme, modernising and readying stations for the arrival of electric trains in 2013.
“A highlight of the year was the opening of the first stage of the Manukau Station, the first new rail route to be built in Auckland in 82 years. Another is the AMETI project which had two new bridges built and 2500 truckloads of rock excavated for a new road tunnel this year.
“Otahuhu, Onehunga, Remuera and Greenlane stations were all upgraded with additional platform furniture, lighting, increased CCTV coverage, HOP machines and improved access for mobility users. Ellerslie station underwent a revamp with a longer platform, new furniture and pedestrian lift.
“Work is progressing well on the Wiri Depot, it will be used to maintain and house the new electric trains.
“Major work at Papakura has seen the re-arrangement of tracks to create a dedicated freight line, platforms upgraded and the historic ticket office has been refurbished and is open again,” says Mr Lambert.
Auckland Transport, with partner KiwiRail, is making full use of the rail network closures over the Christmas period to continue an extensive rail construction and maintenance programme.
Starting Boxing Day, work at Mt Albert station will involving digging and piling for the new pedestrian bridge. The piles to hold the bridge in place are at least 17 metres deep and 1.5m in diameter. Smaller 600mm piles for the lift structure also have to be put down.
On the AMETI project, we will continue to pour the concrete floor slab for the new Panmure Station building, as well as working on other upgrades for the station, trenching a new sewer line and completing the demolition of the old Ellerslie-Panmure Highway Bridge.
At Britomart, KiwiRail is undertaking a major track re-arrangement to give greater operational flexibility. The changes will allow trains to access all platforms and run on either of the two tracks in and out of Britomart. It will mean improved timetables and fewer delays to trains waiting to get into the station.
The footbridge at Point Resolution in Parnell will also be replaced.
Along the southern line at Otahuhu, KiwiRail is carrying out major work to re-arrange and upgrade the junction so trains can enter and leave the Otahuhu rail yards at much faster speed - which will minimise delays for commuter services.
And work at Papakura is continuing, the upgrade of the island platform is expected to be finished these holidays. When the station re-opens passengers will go back to using the proper platforms for both north and southbound trains. New track will also be laid.
KiwiRail will be putting in new masts and wires needed to power the new electric trains. The key priority is to get the wires strung on the busiest part of the network between Westfield and Papakura. KiwiRail will also be installing screens at several pedestrian and road bridges along the network. The safety screens help prevent accidental contact with the overhead wires.
Auckland trains will be out of action over the Christmas and New Year period:
· Saturday 22 December to Monday 24 December 2012: Otahuhu to Pukekohe on Southern Line, Eastern and Manukau Lines closed with Bus Replacements.
· Monday 24 December: Reduced peak service on Southern / Eastern Lines.
· Tuesday 25 December 2012: No rail or rail bus replacement services.
· Wednesday 26 December 2012 to Sunday 6 January 2013: Full network closure. Bus Replacements operating across all lines.
· Monday 7 January to Sunday 20 January 2013: Eastern Line (Westfield to Britomart) and Newmarket Branch Line (Newmarket to Britomart) including Britomart closed with Bus Replacements.
Full opening of the Auckland rail network is scheduled for the morning of Monday 21st January 2012.
This article first appeared on www.scoop.co.nz
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