Wayne Brown releases nine-point plan to fix Auckland train problems after meeting with KiwiRail, AT, Auckland One Rail

KiwiRail will be carrying out an "aggressive plan" to fix a section of track on Auckland's rail network, Mayor Wayne Brown has announced.

It comes after high temperatures this week were blamed for cancellations and delays to Auckland trains for a third consecutive day. 

Brown held a meeting on Wednesday with representatives from Auckland Transport (AT), KiwiRail, Auckland One Rail and the office of the Minister of Transport.

A statement from the Mayor on Wednesday evening said the meeting was productive and "went surprisingly well", despite his earlier promise to deliver a "bloody good bollocking" during it.

In the meeting, various issues affecting passenger rail services were said to have been discussed including heat restrictions, temporary speed limitations, delays related to the transition to a new signaling system at Britomart for the City Rail Link, multiple point failures, staff shortages and inadequate communication with customers. 

Brown said the meeting was focused on actions required to fix the problems and KiwiRail will be carrying out an "aggressive plan" to fix the 4.4km sections of track affected by heat restrictions. 

Brown's office released the following nine-point plan: 

  • Over the next week, KiwiRail will be carrying out an aggressive plan to fix the 4.4km sections of rail that were subject to heat restrictions this week. This will reduce the amount of rail subject to such restrictions to less than 1 km of rail and, in doing so, drastically reduce disruption to Auckland commuters
  • Auckland One Rail will resolve crew shortages by March 11, 2024
  • All agencies are to work over the next week to identify ways to mitigate delays caused by the new signalling system at Britomart and report back
  • All agencies are to consider whether temporary adjustments to train timetables are required to ensure reliable and predictable services so Aucklanders can have confidence in transport timetables
  • A joint Auckland Rail Operation Centre will be opened on 14 March with all parties involved in running the Auckland rail network located there, to ensure everyone can work better together
  • All parties have agreed that they will adopt joined-up communication to customers
  • All agencies noted the importance of completing the Rail Network Rebuild by the go-live date for City Rail Link, so we receive the benefit of its significant investment
  • Auckland Transport is to develop better customer-centric metrics for the rail system to understand the performance of the network and the impact of delays on customers
  • All parties committed to putting the customer first and to continuous improvement and making changes as necessary. 

The Mayor also noted the recent review into KiwiRail's handling of recent disruptions to passenger services, which found that governance arrangements for metropolitan rail lines were "insufficiently integrated" across rail participants. 

The report found that there was a need for a collaborative, aligned governance group focused on delivering excellent services. 

"I have detailed my expectations and we will be hauling them in again in a week's time to make sure things are being fixed. I thank Aucklanders for their patience and I look forward to things improving, fast," the statement read. 

Brown also said Transport Minister Simeon Brown insisted he is eager for Auckland's transport issues to be fixed. 

"I am thankful for the minister's support and look forward to working together to bring better transport to Aucklanders," Brown said.