The New Zealand Transport Minister Michael Wood and the Kiwi Rail Chief Executive Greg Miller have released the first Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP), which details the NZD 1.3 billion (USD 911.7 million) investment to maintain and improve rail lines across the country over the next three years.
“The disruptions to the supply chain due to COVID have shown how important it is to have a reliable rail network to keep freight flowing, which keeps our economy moving. This $1.3 billion investment is about lifting our national rail network to a resilient and reliable standard,” Michael Wood said.
The programme includes fully replacing 20 bridges around the country and improving around 25 more, the replacement of more than 200 km of rail sleepers and more than 130 km of tracks, the upgrading of Auckland metro network signalling system, the construction of Auckland train control centre and an additional power supply into the network to support increased train frequency to come with the City Rail Link. The plan will also add active controls (barrier arms, lights/bells) to 3 level crossings and making improvements to 25 more through renewals and will support the elaboration of a business case for further network improvements across Wellington, including looking at potentially extending electrification north of Waikanae to Levin and beyond.
The Rail Network Investment Programme details the work KiwiRail will be undertaking between mid-2021 and 2024, in line with the Government direction outlined in the NZ Rail Plan. The work is funded through the National Land Transport Fund and must be approved by the Minister of Transport.
In June the Minister of Transport approved the inaugural Rail Network Investment Programme which sets out planned network maintenance, management, renewal and improvement work on the national rail network over the next three years. The Government outlined its 10-year vision for rail through the NZ Rail Plan.