Today is the last day this year you can catch a train in Auckland with the two network shut for Christmas tomorrow and then into the note annual Christmas shutdown. The full rail network will be closed till January 5th with partial closures depending on the line from then onwards.
The eastern line north of Westfield will suffer the most this year by being shut completely all the way through till January 20th. This is a bit of a change from the last few years where the western and southern lines have been the ones most affected. It’s also with noting that while the other lines return return earlier, they will be running on a reduced timetable. The details are below
Train services in Auckland will be replaced with rail buses over the Christmas-New Year period as preparation work steps-up ahead of the launch of Auckland’s electric trains.
Over the holidays the lines will be closed so vital work can be done to get the rail network ready for Auckland’s new state of the art trains. This work includes electrification preparations on the lines between Newmarket and Britomart; various platform extensions needed for the longer new trains; work at Ellerslie needed because of motorway widening being undertaken by NZTA; finishing touches on the new Panmure Transport Interchange and general maintenance work on the network.
Up to Tuesday 24 December 2013
Evening rail network closure between Otahuhu and Manukau/Papakura/Pukekohe. Buses will replace trains.
No train or rail-bus services.
Thursday 26 December to Sunday 5 January 2014
Rail replacement buses will operate across the rail network.
Monday 6 January to Sunday 12 January 2014
There will be a partial shutdown with buses replacing trains.
The Western Line will be closed between Newmarket and Britomart, shuttle buses will operate between Grafton and Britomart.
The Southern and Onehunga Lines will be closed between Newmarket and Britomart with shuttle buses operating.
The Eastern and Manukau Lines will be closed between Sylvia Park and Britomart. All Eastern Line train services will be diverted to/from Newmarket. A train service will operate between Manukau and Sylvia Park. Bus replacements will operate between Otahuhu and Britomart via the Eastern Line.
Monday 13 January to Sunday 19 January 2014
The Western, Southern and Onehunga Lines will be open with a special timetable.
The Eastern and Manukau Lines will be closed between Sylvia Park and Britomart. All Eastern Line train services will be diverted to/from Britomart via Newmarket. A train service will operate between Manukau and Sylvia Park. Bus replacements will be used between Otahuhu and Britomart via the Eastern Line.
Monday 20 January 2014
Full train services resume on all lines.
Saturday, 25 January to Monday, 27 January 2014 (Anniversary Weekend)
Buses replace all trains
From Tuesday, 28 January 2014 until further notice
Monday to Friday from 9pm all Eastern/Manukau Line services will be diverted via Newmarket – Bus replacements between Britomart-Otahuhu via Eastern Line.
Once the trains are back up and running we should see the wires finally extended into Britomart and with the eastern line shutdown a substantial amount of the wiring up on that section too.
The other interesting thing is that after Auckland anniversary weekend we will be seeing the eastern line closed earlier at nights, again so that the writes can be installed.
Rail users in Auckland have been putting up with network shutdowns for years now. I can’t remember the last time the network wasn’t shut at Christmas. As a result of them – and other the shutdowns throughout the years – we are getting a substantially upgraded rail network which will soon be running modern electric trains. Something that seemed impossible 10-15 years ago.
However while we have accepted the shutdowns up until now. My big concern is that Kiwirail have become too accustomed to them and that after the upgrades have been completed we will continue to see large shutdowns occurring for network maintenance. Kiwirail need to be moving towards maintaining the network like other overseas cities do by doing that work at night, not closing the network every long weekend and Christmas/New Year. It is something I’ll be keeping a close eye on going forward.