New Zealand Government

12/09/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/08/2019 15:00

Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns.

The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and a pedestrian underpass.

Phil Twyford said rail is the backbone of a sustainable 21st Century transport network.

'Improved reliability and more services will benefit the 20,000 Wellington commuters who take the train every weekday and encourage even more to get on board.

'Not only does this help reduce emissions by getting cars off the road, it helps to ease congestion - which boosts the region's productivity by $290 million every year.

'Double tracking the rail line between Trentham and Upper Hutt has been talked about since the 1950s. Our Government is getting on with this important infrastructure upgrade,' Phil Twyford said.

The 2.7km track between Trentham and Upper Hutt is a major bottle neck at an important point where commuter services and freight trains interact. These upgrades will help freight services to keep on time despite increased passenger services.

Phil Twyford said the Government is getting rail back on track after years of neglect.

'Our $196 million Wellington rail package also includes important upgrades for the Wairarapa line, without them, the line would have deteriorated with more and more disruptions to services.

'While the previous government may have been okay letting Wellington's rail network get this bad, it is simply unacceptable to our Government to do nothing.

'We're taking a long-term view and investing in rail around the country to get our cities moving, help transition to a zero-carbon economy and to support our regions,' Phil Twyford said.

The Trentham to Upper Hutt work will finish in 2021 and the upgrades across the Wellington rail network and are funded with $193 million through the Transport Agency and $3 million from the Greater Wellington Regional Council.