To enable more trains and faster and easier journeys, KiwiRail needed to identify where improvements could be made to their signalling system and have a convincing business case to make it happen.

Beca proudly supported them on their journey, drawing on over a century of rail experience to investigate, future proof and help KiwiRail get the investment necessary to make vital improvements in advance of the City Rail Link opening.

It was known that the European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling system required some enhancements - the challenge was getting to the root of the many known problems while considering the implications any improvements would have on the rest of the signalling system.

Working alongside SYSTRA signalling specialists, we used a model of the network operations to diagnose where the problems were and then tested possible solutions. This modelling work pointed to around 15 key locations where investment in balises would enable the existing signalling system to perform better and contribute more to improving the reliability of train operations.

We developed a bespoke method of calculating the economic benefits of a proposed investment, which enabled us to analyse these possible solutions.

Using the insights gained, a business case was then prepared demonstrating the optimal solution and supporting evidence for investment. The case put forward to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency demonstrated how 30% more people could access the city centre by train more reliably, and 300 trains could operate more efficiently during peak periods by investing in the proposed ETCS improvements. Furthermore, it showed how these benefits could be delivered for a third of the cost originally anticipated.

Through collaboration, technical excellence, and thinking outside the box and providing a comprehensive recommendation, the business case was accepted by Waka Kotahi and the improvements are currently being implemented.


Of anticipated budget


More visitors to the city


Trains made more reliable

Our team says

"This was an incredibly challenging, but extremely rewarding project. It's great to be part of making everyday better for our client and commuters of Auckland."

Andy Lightowler

Technical Director, Transport Advisory

Our client says

"Andy consistently offered solutions to any hurdle that presented itself. As a project lead, he was able to deliver a high-quality product within the time allocated."

Dom Snyman

Project Manager for Network Strategy & Investment (KiwiRail)

Our People

Andrew Livermore

Director – Disaster Readiness and Response

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Andy Lightowler

Technical Director - Transportation

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Greg Edwards

Senior Transport Planner

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