Masts Appear in Xmas Rail Shutdown


Once again, KiwiRail workers and contractors are gearing up for the big summer of rail work from Boxing Day while the rest of the city is on holiday. We’ll see electrification masts go up at Newmarket and Baldwin Ave.
This is the 6th consecutive year that the rail network has been closed during the summer holidays, but this year’s work programme is the most extensive in scale and scope in recent years.

For a start, it’s the first time that the entire network will close for two weeks – from December 26, 2010 until January 16 – and work will continue on the Eastern Line and the Southern Line south of Otahuhu for a further week. Those sections of the track will reopen to passenger rail services on Monday January 17.

Unlike previous years with heavy development on the Western Line, KiwiRail is  focusing on the Southern and Eastern lines where a number of clearance projects are underway.

The focus of this year’s construction programme will be preparation for the electrification of the rail network by 2013. Platform extensions and modifications will be carried out at Puhinui and Remuera stations.

KiwiRail image of some of the masts that we'll see on the network

The key projects are:

  • Resignalling around Quay Park and Britomart, enabling trials next year of Rugby World Cup train operations
  • Replacement of five rail overbridges in Papatoetoe, Manurewa and Papakura
  • Track-lowering at Church St East and in the Purewa Tunnel
  • Redevelopment of Baldwin Ave Station
  • Installation of electrification masts at Baldwin Ave and Newmarket Junction
  • Widespread maintenance including sleeper renewals on the Southern and Western lines
  • Platform modifications at Remuera and Puhinui stations

Baldwin closes tonight

KiwiRail’s Auckland Electrification project director Murray Hood says it’s ther best opportunity of the year to complete a lot of work in a relatively short space of time and there will be times when they’ll be working around the clock to take full advantage of it.  “We’re used to some big Christmas works, and this year we have the most widespread of all our holiday construction programmes so far.”
The closure of the rail network during this period comes at a time when demand for passenger rail services is at its lowest point of the year and road traffic is lighter, allowing for an extensive range of construction activities to be carried out in compressed timeframes.

The bridge replacements and associated road closures:

  • St George St, Papatoetoe closed December 26 – January 16
  • Bridge St, Papatoetoe closed from now until January 31
  • Browns Rd, Manurewa closed December 26 – early February
  • Station Rd, Manurewa closed December 26 – January 31
  • Clevedon Rd, Papakura closed December 26 – March
  • Church St East, Penrose closed at the rail tracks December 26 – January 16




  1. Ian M says:

    I am a bit confused regards the lowering of track at Church St east. Is this on the Onehunga line? If so, surely this could have been done when the line was recently relaid?

  2. Kalelovil says:

    @Ian M

    No, it is not on the Onehunga line, it is slightly south of Penrose on the southern line.

    When they do the track lowering under the Church St bridge, I hope that the opportunity is used to close the Church St East level crossing at the same time.

  3. Geoff says:

    Given that the level crossing reopens on January 16th, clearly it won’t be closing. It’s needed by local businesses who don’t have road access out the other side.

  4. Kalelovil says:

    The cost of providing alternate road access has been reported as only being $1.4m, how much instead is going to be spent rebuilding the level crossing once the track level is lowered while still needing to close it at some point in the future.

  5. Andrew says:

    The Church St crossing is also used by cyclists in-between the Waikaraka and Sylvia Park* cycleways.

    * I don’t know if that cycleway has a name, it’s the one starting at Gt South Rd following the SEART to Mt Wellington Highway opposite Sylvia Park.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>