Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern travels through the City Rail Link (CRL) tunnels


City Rail Link, CRL, Jacinda Ardern, new zealand,


As the tunnel boring phase for CRL nears completion, works have already started on the project’s next phase, including 16km of rail and more than 1,500km of cable. 

The completion of the tunnel boring phase is expected this month, and works have already started on the next phase in the project, the fit-out for our future, he says. This includes a vast array of equipment and materials, including 16km of rail and more than 1,500 km of cable.

“These important milestones bring the CRL project into sharp focus, and we will soon literally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” says CRL’s Boss, Dr Sean Sweeney. “This project will elevate New Zealand’s largest city’s transport network to match that of other world-class cities.

It will allow Aucklanders to navigate their city quicker, more easily and farther from the centre.” As part of the next project phase, a System Integration Facility (SIF) has been established and is designing and implementing technical solutions to integrate CRL sub-systems into a new Auckland rail network operating configuration, with state-of-the-art software and hardware already purchased.

These include the control systems, station systems, communications systems, and some of the key rail systems required to operate jointly to complete the CRL. Rail tracks are on site and being prepared for laying in the tunnels, as well as sleepers, electronics, safety systems and other essential componentry, adds Dr Sweeney.

“This is the biggest fit-out of a transport infrastructure project in New Zealand construction history,” he says.

During her visit, the Prime Minister travelled across three station sites – Maungawhau/Mt Eden Station, Karanga-a-Hape Station (Karangahape) and Te Waihorotiu Station (Aotea) – riding in an electric buggy through the recently bored tunnel and gaining a unique perspective underground.

Video Source: City Rail Link via YouTube

Dr Sweeney says a lot has been achieved since the project’s inception. Construction on Te Waihorotiu Station, for instance, began in November 2019 and, despite the impact of Covid on construction timelines, remains on track. In that time, the team relocated and upgraded a vast array of city centre utilities away from the station box area, completed all station foundation walls, constructed roof stabs in several areas, completed significant underground excavation, and recently erected external cladding.

“The brilliant station designs, unique to New Zealand Aotearoa’s culture, are taking shape before our eyes,” he says, “while the construction of 3.45km twin tunnels is a massive achievement and has never been attempted in this country before.”

The equipment, materials and componentry for the stations and tunnels fit-out include:

  • 16 km of rail

  • 816km signal cables

  • 247km low voltage cables

  • 74km cable containment

  • 86km traction cables

  • More than 5,100 sqm of metal cladding

  • More than 4,000 sqm glazing

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