| The Greater Wellington Council says the Region’s busiest rail lines are in Kapiti and tbe Hutt Valley.|
And it says peak patronage rates were even higher in the past year, rising 7.3 per cent.
Greater Wellington Regional Council chair, Cr Daran Ponter, says intensive work by KiwiRail staff over the holidays shows a commitment by KiwiRail to improving the Wellington rail network.
More than 200 KiwiRail staff worked across 15 different sites over Christmas and the New Year on essential upgrades — installing the foundations for 80 new masts to replace ageing wooden power poles and install new overhead wires.
To increase the network’s capacity, and allow for regional growth, double tracking will go ahead between Trentham and Upper Hutt and improvements will be made to the congested approach to Wellington Railways Station and also to Plimmerton.
At the Hutt Valley Line’s Trentham Station, KiwiRail staff and contractors also began work on a new pedestrian underpass, removing rail tracks, disconnecting signal and power systems and completing major earthworks ahead of reopening the line for train services.
Cr Ponter says: “Renewing existing infrastructure is fundamental to ensuring service reliability and maintaining confidence in the network.
A ‘new age’
“Without doubt we are witnessing a new age of rail in the capital, driven by nearly $300 million pledged by the government for modernisation and upgrades, alongside usual annual maintenance.
He say Greater Wellington and KiwiRail are working together to upgrade the rail network to make services more reliable and to enable more people and freight to travel on trains in the future.
In the broader programme, existing infrastructure will be renewed to ensure services run as smoothly as possible
This will involve, across the Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Porirua lines, work building underpasses, upgrading level crossings and barriers replacing rail and sleepers, and improving slope stability and drainage, along with replacement of overhead power systems and signals power supply.
More Govt. money needed
“What we now need is for government to agree to our $414 million bid for new rolling stock.
“With annual metro rail patronage reaching a high of 14.3 million passengers in June 2019, a rise of 5.7 per cent year on year, we need to build the capacity to deal with growth. New rolling stock is essential to achieving that.
Peak patronage rates were even higher, rising 7.3 per cent year-to-date, with our busiest lines being Hutt Valley and Kapiti.”