Hard work keeps rail improvements on track
Metlink is showing its gratitude to Kiwirail and its passengers for their patience, while work went ahead on the Wellington rail network over Summer.
Daran Ponter, Greater Wellington Council Chair, said Kiwirail should be proud of its efforts to improve the network’s safety, performance, and sustainability.
“I’d like to thank those who worked so diligently on the network during a time when the majority of us were enjoying a break from work,” Ponter said.
“I hope they take satisfaction from knowing that commuters will reap the benefits of their hard work now and in the future.”
On Boxing Day, work started at Plimmerton Station to build an additional platform, realign the tracks, and enhance safety measures at Steyne and Pascoe Avenue level crossings.
Elsewhere on the Kāpiti line, tunnels between Ngauranga and Glenside were re-railed as were three tunnels from Pukerua Bay to Paekākāriki.
Slope stabilisation was also carried out following several significant slips last year.
Kāpiti rail commuters will now see the expansive coastal view flit by a little faster and commuting time reduced as speed restrictions are eased.
In the Hutt valley, passengers have been reaping the benefits of double tracking which removed a bottleneck from Trentham in November.
Commuters waiting at Trentham or Wallaceville however, can do so in the comfort of upgraded shelters, while improved and additional parking facilities should encourage greater patronage from each station.
Over the Remutaka ranges in the Wairarapa, major work by Kiwirail led to several speed restrictions being either reduced or lifted.
Tamping(external link), which involves mechanically lifting and straightening tracks to make them more durable, was also carried out.
In thanking Kiwirail for its work, Metlink General Manager, Scott Gallacher also acknowledged the hard work of Metlink’s frontline team and the patience of commuters.
“With works this large and with numerous groups involved, the appreciation is always widespread. From our hardworking drivers running the bus replacements to the commuters for their patience and understanding.
“We know upgrades to the rail network are a double-edged sword. While disruptive they’re beneficial in the long term. The resulting progress has contributed to a more sustainable future for the network in our region.”
And that future could soon be brighter.
A Metlink business case is recommending a portion of the government’s $1.3 billion national rail injection is used to purchase hybrid electric trains for the Wellington region.
With the new trains, Metlink could quadruple peak time commuter services between Palmerston North and Wellington and double them between Masterton and the capital.