Auckland’s train lines will be rotating partial closures from the end of this year until 2025 to replace its rock foundations.
From 16 January 2023 until late March 2023 the Onehunga line will be closed, and the Southern line between Ōtāhuhu and Britomart will be closed. Following that, from March 2023 until December 2023 the Eastern line between Ōtāhuhu and Britomart will be closed, with 2024 and 2025 being put aside for the Western line and remaining sections of the Southern line. On top of this, AT is still committing to its regular Christmas network-wide shutdown period form 26 December 2022 until 15 January 2023, making the Onehunga line unusable for four months total. The $330 million project comes a mere two years after the major repair work and line closures to fix the extensive damage found on the tracks in 2020.
Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson Josh Van Veen has publicly commented that he does not have confidence in AT’s ability to provide reliable buses as a replacement. Earlier this month on 12 October, the Western line service was running with a highly reduced number of trains, with no railbuses being put in their place. University of Auckland first-year student Georgia said, “Everyone hates the reliability of public transport enough without them basically removing it from the city all together. So much for wanting to improve the transport system to lower carbon emissions… their focus is on shutting it so more people are forced to drive, probably creating more pollution doing the rebuilding, and all for some rocks!”. Another of the University’s first-year students, Mason, commented “If I can’t get to University properly I may as well go into halls, and if I have to pay to do that I may as well just move out of Auckland. At least I can walk to campus in Dunedin.”