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NZ Chapter Event: Mainline Track Upgrades: Auckland-Wellington and Sydney-Melbourne

November 17 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm NZDT

Join the Railway Technical Society of Australasia New Zealand Chapter online with Dr Philip Laird to discuss ‘Mainline Track Upgrades: Auckland – Wellington and Sydney – Melbourne’ at 12:30-1:30pm NZT on the 17th November 2021.

Register here.

Auckland and Wellington are linked by the North Island Main Trunk (NIMT) narrow gauge railway of length 681km. Sydney and Melbourne are now linked by a standard gauge railway of length 960 km. Both railways include challenging terrain.

An outline is given of former improvements for each of the NIMT railway and the Melbourne to Sydney railway that include deviations for grade easing. Many of the NIMT deviations have led to a reduction in distance. By way of contrast, each NSW main south line deviation has resulted in extra distance. Further contrasts include electrification of most of the NIMT during the 1980s, and, the NIMT gaining Centralised traffic control signalling for most of its length some 42 years ahead of the Melbourne to Sydney railway.

Some planned and possible upgrades are outlined for the NIMT. The paper concludes that in order for the Sydney Melbourne railway to win more freight and passenger traffic, some track straightening is essential.


Dr Philip Laird
Honorary Associate Professor, the University of Wollongong

Dr Philip Laird is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, the Australian National University in Canberra and the University of Calgary in Canada. He is currently an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong and his land transport research appears in journals and refereed conference papers.

His recent work includes the potential benefits of the development of Medium Speed Rail to connect for NSW regional centres to Sydney and an Inland Railway linking Melbourne and Brisbane though Parkes being constructed to modern engineering standards.

On Australia Day 2021 Philip was awarded an OAM “For service to the rail freight and passenger transport industry.”

Click here register on the Engineering New Zealand website.


RTSA New Zealand Chapter
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