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Western Line, Auckland

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Western Line, Auckland

The Western Line in Auckland, New Zealand is the name given to suburban services that operate between Britomart and Swanson via Newmarket.


From Britomart to Newmarket, the line uses the Newmarket Line, then follows the North Auckland Line to Swanson, the current northernmost station on the network.


By the early 20th century, an intensive suburban service ran between Auckland and Henderson, with some trains progressing to Waitakere and Helensville. When the mixed trains were withdrawn, Helensville became New Zealand's northern passenger terminus with a daily service to Auckland. However, in February 1980, the [2] Commuter trains nowadays terminate at Swanson, or Henderson, and with traffic volumes increasing, the line is progressively being upgraded.

Since the early 1990s, Auckland's commuter services have been revitalised. The ADK and ADL classes of diesel multiple units (DMUs) were purchased in 1993 to replace locomotive-hauled carriage trains. In 1997, as the DMUs stimulated increased patronage, work was undertaken by the Auckland Regional Council to extend platforms so that longer trains could be accommodated.[3] So that more frequent services could be run, construction began on 9 April 2004 to double track the line between Mount Eden and Morningside.[4] When this new track entered service, a new timetable was introduced on 14 February 2005 with more frequent trains between Britomart and Waitakere, particularly during peak periods. This timetable also introduced short run services between Britomart and New Lynn.[5] This was followed by the opening of a new double platform Kingsland station on 21 May 2005, replacing the old single platform station.[6] Further patronage growth meant that on 25 October 2005, another new timetable was implemented and it featured the re-introduction of features that had been absent for many years, including express services from Waitakere to Britomart on weekdays and Sunday trains between Britomart and New Lynn. The weekday service frequency to Swanson was cut to 37 minutes, but this meant trains to Waitakere ran only every 74 minutes.[7]

Helensville trial

Beyond Waitakere, services between Auckland and Helensville resumed in July 2008 on a trial basis, with a minimum of forty passengers daily required for the train to be permanently reinstated,[8] but the service was terminated again in December 2009, because only an average of 43 passengers per day used the three daily services, causing a much above-average subsidy.[9]


The first section of the duplication had been undertaken by Auckland Regional Council, as 'Project Boston', adding 2.2 km of double track between Boston Road Train Station and Morningside Train Station by early 2005.[10]

In May 2005, work began to prepare the rail corridor between New Lynn and Henderson for double tracking[6] and construction of the double track commenced on 31 December 2005.[11] On 19 December 2006, the central government approved a NZ$120 million package for double trackage in the other direction from New Lynn to Avondale; this included a 1 km long, 8 m deep trench through the centre of New Lynn for which construction began in 2009.[12]

On 8 June 2010 the double tracking of the Western Line was completed, enabling trains to run in both directions on one of two tracks all the way between the Britomart Transport Centre in the Auckland City Centre and the Swanson Station in Waitakere. The double-tracking cost $420 million and employed around 400 people.[10][13] The last section was a 3 km stretch between Avondale Train Station and Titirangi Road in New Lynn.[10] From July 2015, off-peak Mondays to Fridays every second Western Line train from Britomart continued beyond Swanson to Waitakere when these services ceased and were replaced by buses.[14]


Suburban services are operated by Transdev under the AT brand.

See also


  1. ^ Rails magazine, March 1980, 15–16
  2. ^ Rails magazine, September 1980, p.14
  3. ^ Auckland Regional Council: Rail Project Background
  4. ^ Auckland Regional Council Press Release, 2 April 2004: The Prime Minister Launches Western Rail Line Construction
  5. ^ ARTA Rail Newsletter – Issue 16
  6. ^ a b ARTA Rail Newsletter – Issue 17
  7. ^ ARTA Rail Newsletter – Issue 21
  8. ^ "West Rail Needs Passengers", Western Leader, 1 November 2007.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c
  11. ^ ARTA Rail Newsletter – Issue 23
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
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