So here is our latest update on the overall NZ Rail Maps project. As we made clear earlier this year, we are working on completing all 12 volumes in 2020. That is an aspirational goal and for various reasons it’s quite possible that goal won’t be met. However it is worthwhile making a serious attempt to achieve it, even if we only get 10 of the 12 volumes actually completed by Christmas.
At the moment the schedule has slipped by about 10-14 days, based on when Volume 5 was finally published, and our anticipated schedule for Volume 6 which is currently in development. Looking at our last project development report published two weeks ago, we anticipated strong progress at that time. The first set of mosaics completed was for Wellington Yard, which was finished around the time of that report, or a couple of days later. These then sat for 10 days whilst the mosaics for the rest of the corridor were pushed ahead. This turned out to take somewhat longer than anticipated, naturally, and then when we finally produced some tiles for Wellington, bugs were found and have had to be fixed.
Because of the scale of the mosaics being somewhat more ambitious than expected, we have taken a bit longer than planned to churn these out, but progress is starting to happen and depending on how many bugs are found and have to be resolved, we anticipate completion of them will push into the middle of next week. We then have to update the map content as quickly as possible. On the other hand, like Volume 5, the actual content that is presented will be much more extensive than what we have published at any level before. For example we now have the full coverage of Hutt Shops and the Seaview industrial area on the Gracefield Branch, plus historical views of every station in the Hutt Valley, including multiple eras of Upper Hutt. We also now have coverage of Summit and Cross Creek when they were open, plus extra material for Maymorn, Kaitoke, Rimutaka Loop, Speedys Crossing , Featherston, Carterton and Masterton – as well as the Woodville junction that has already been completed in Volume 5.
The next question of course is what will follow Volume 6 and this is being eagerly anticipated already. That will be probably Volume 1, North Auckland, followed by Volume 3, ECMT. And whilst Volume 1 is relatively straightforward to complete with many mosaics recently produced, Volume 3 has very little. Because the ECMT is a very extensive corridor with numerous branches, and a few small areas have already been completed, but there would be a lot more needed. So maybe these two volumes together are a month each but Volume 1 will take less than a month and Volume 3, more. Volume 1 does not have any mosaics for Auckland and this is essential so this will add some work.
This leaves us Volume 4 and 2 to complete the North Island and these have been left as long as possible because significant chunks of Horizons Regional Council’s territory and Taranaki does not yet have full Retrolens coverage because it has only been added since the start of this year. Volume 2 would be the most affected but we do have extensive coverage completed now of parts of Wellington, and Hamilton, but none of Auckland, and probably for the NIMT we would expect to have some of the major deviated areas covered as well as stations like Taihape and Taumarunui. For Volume 4 we would look to update Whanganui, which is already improving, and add New Plymouth, Stratford, any significant SOL station, and Okahukura.
So the schedule for the next four volumes after this is pretty well thought out and the work is going to keep being pretty intensive up to the middle of the year and probably a bit beyond.