Significant opportunities are in store for Northland contractors as work on the Auckland to Northland rail link starts after government investment.

Teams have started surveying the 181km line and KiwiRail has signalled it wants to use Northland businesses where possible from December when consultants for bridge replacement and tunnel works are hired.

KiwiRail has been given $94.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to get the line back on track and build its freight capacity.

The State-owned enterprise briefed about 40 Northland construction contractors this week in Whangārei about future work opportunities on rejuvenating Northland's rail lines.


KiwiRail chief operating officer capital projects David Gordon said the briefing was to ensure large and small civil construction contractors in Northland were aware of upcoming work, what the requirements were and who qualified.

"There will be a mix of larger and smaller jobs making up the overall programme of works,"Gordon said.

"We have ensured that where possible the work is broken into bite-sized pieces suitable for smaller contractors. The meeting was well attended."

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Gordon said working in the rail corridor brought with it special safety requirements that were different from roads and other civil construction.

He said survey teams have already begun gathering detailed information to help design bridge replacements and plan essential tunnel maintenance.

The work is expected to finish by the end of November.

"Northland's railway lines are underused at the moment because of their condition. The [North Auckland Line] is around 100 years old, is mothballed north of Kauri and the whole line has been in a state of 'managed decline' until its future was determined," Gordon said.


The survey work was a major step in turning that around, he said.

KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones made the funding announcement last month.