Rail upgrades as part of the Government's Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme have begun today, with 400 jobs said to be created.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford were at the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project at the Southdown rail terminal in Onehunga to mark the occasion.
“We’re getting rail back on track and that’s good for businesses, communities and commuters," Mr Peters said.
“We are investing more than $1.1 billion to make sure Auckland’s rail network is fit-for-purpose through constructing the new third main rail line, extending track electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe, building new train stations to meet growth in Drury, and doing crucial upgrades across the 100 kilometre network.
The Transport Minister also touted what he believes the benefits of the projects will be.
“Not only are we creating jobs, we are also making sure that commuter rail is in place to support urban growth south of Auckland. To reduce congestion and emissions we know trains need to be reliable and easy for people to access, and that’s what these upgrades will do.
“Building the third main rail line will remove a key bottleneck for freight and commuter services, as well as give more capacity for the increased services expected once the City Rail Link is completed. The CRL along with the other upgrades will shave off up to an hour of the daily commute for thousands of people."
The works come as plans for the high-profile light rail link to Auckland Airport has gone back to the drawing board after the coalition Government failed to reach an agreement.
The future of that project will now be decided after the election.