The Minister of Transport, Steven Joyce, will join an array of Auckland dignitaries including the Mayor of Auckland, John Banks today (9 April 2010) to officially open the new Grafton train station.
Hot on the heels of the Newmarket train station opening in January 2010, the Grafton station will mark the 22nd new or redeveloped train station on Auckland’s rail network in the last five years.
The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and KiwiRail have developed the station and track works which will be open for customers from Sunday 11 April, after the old Boston Road station receives its last service at midnight on Saturday.
ARTA’s Chairman, Rabin Rabindran, said “Auckland’s rail renaissance continues to be stimulated by the biggest investment by government and the region in rail for decades. Ongoing improvements around the network continue to result in very strong patronage growth. Rail patronage has increased 97% in the last 5 years and over 8 million trips were made in the last year alone. The opening of the new Grafton station marks the next significant milestone in the redevelopment of the regions’ rail network.
“The $3 million station construction at Grafton will enable a more convenient journey to and from the Auckland City Hospital and the western end of Newmarket by rail services. The station also offers excellent access to the Auckland Museum, the beautiful Domain which regularly hosts special events or for students living in University accommodation nearby.
“The station has four entrance points making it safer than crossing the busy Khyber Pass and Park Rd and is a great improvement on the old platforms at Boston Road station. It is also situated right on the new Central Connector roadway service for easy and convenient interconnectivity between trains and buses.”
In addition to building the new station platforms, KiwiRail and its contractor Fulton Hogan have double-tracked Newmarket’s Western Line, marking another step forward in the ongoing Western Line Duplication Project.
There is now continuous double-tracking from Britomart to Avondale, which will mean shorter journey times through that part of the Auckland network. The duplication of a 3km stretch of track between Avondale and Titirangi Rd in June will complete the project.
“We’re pleased to mark this major milestone, as the duplication of this section of track also represents the completion of the Newmarket rail upgrade which started in 2007,” says Acting Project Director, DART, Peter King.
“It has been a significant engineering project immediately beside and above busy road and rail corridors, and that has not been without its challenges.
“But the team has risen to that challenge admirably and we appreciate their efforts for the benefit of Auckland commuters.”
The rail corridor has been widened from 5m to 13m and rail overbridges at Khyber Pass Rd and Park Rd replaced. This has also created sufficient clearance for the overhead electric wires which will be installed as part of the Auckland Electrification Project, due to be completed in 2013.
Mr Rabindran said “This year, other new stations at Avondale, New Lynn and Onehunga are set to open as well as an upgrade to Kingsland Station for the Rugby World Cup.
“Preparations for electric trains are also currently being undertaken and further timetable improvements will build upon those made in recent years.
“We hope our customers enjoy the benefits of these ongoing improvements to deliver a World-class transport system that makes Auckland an even better place to live, work and play.”