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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Masterton

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Track work down the line

To support Greater Wellington Regional Council’s [GWRC] planned introduction of hybrid trains, KiwiRail has been working hard on the Wairarapa line between Masterton and Upper Hutt.

Over the past year, renewal work and capacity upgrades were undertaken in preparation for the new trains that are due to come into use in 2029.

KiwiRail chief planning officer David Gordon confirmed that rail and sleeper renewals on the Wairarapa Line have been completed except for track work in the Maoribank and Remutaka tunnels.

“This was a huge undertaking, with 55,000 new sleepers installed and around 40kms of re-railing completed between Upper Hutt and Masterton,” Gordon said.

Metlink was able to temporarily reinstate inter-peak train services from December 11 due to the upgrade track work but there will still be a three-week shutdown period from December 26.

“The summer period when many people are away is when we get most of our work done,” Gordon said.

During the three-week shutdown, drainage work in the Remutaka Tunnel and re-railing and re-sleepering in the Maoribank Tunnel will be completed.

The Fitzherbert St level crossing upgrade in Featherston and the replacement of an old wooden rail bridge with a modernised concrete bridge is also scheduled to be completed during the three-week period.

Work is also planned to start on a new passing loop for Woodside during the three-week period, although this will continue throughout 2024.

The variety of work KiwiRail has planned for next year includes re-railing the Remutaka Tunnel during the 2024 Christmas period.

“In 2024 we will continue with our capacity upgrade works for the new trains,” Gordon said.

This work includes improvements at all 30 level crossings on the Wairarapa Line, new crossing loops to enable trains to pass each other, and a new signalling system installed between Featherston and Masterton.

Gordon said most of this work will take place Monday to Friday along the railway but “train services will still be able to operate”.

“More disruptive works that require trains to be replaced by buses will continue to be carried out over select weekends and public holidays.”

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