Big push to restore rail and ferry services

25 June 2013 4:04PM

Latest update from KiwiRail 25 June, 4:15pm

Wellington Metro Update

Significant damage to rail tracks along the foreshore between Ngauranga and Petone during last week’s storm means services between Petone and Wellington are bus replaced until further notice.  Hutt Valley, Melling and Wairarapa services are all affected.

A special half hourly timetable is running on the Hutt Valley Line with trains running between Upper Hutt and Petone until further notice.  Some services on the Wairarapa Line will be cancelled and some bus replaced.

KiwiRail’s Chief Executive, Jim Quinn, says “Support from the public has been superb under trying circumstances.  I think people recognise that we are responding to an extreme and unusual event.” 

Mr Quinn says,  “A 60-strong crew is working in 12 hour shifts around the clock to restore the damaged track where the sea wall has been washed away.   Any down time observed from the motorway during peak hours will be a result of shift handovers which occur at those times.  We are certainly working at maximum efficiency and with a determination to get this line open as soon as possible.”

“Ballast was washed into the ocean and sea gravels and debris were dumped onto the tracks by the storm.  It was an absolute mess.   However, all track is now in place and a tamper machine is levelling the track today. Work is progressing well.” 

Restoration of signalling and traction will need to take place before services can resume.  Numerous slips and fallen trees around the Wellington network were all cleared by Saturday.

The timetable for the Hutt Valley Line and the Wairarapa Line is on the Tranz Metro website and passengers are urged to check the website before they travel at www.tranzmetro.co.nz    

Interislander update

The Kaitaki berth at Wellington Terminal sustained damage to the linkspan (vehicle loading ramp) on Thursday night when the extreme winds caused the ship to break free of the berth. The damage to the linkspan is under repair and is expected to be back in operation before the end of next week. In the interim, Interislander will use an alternative berth for Kaitaki, provided by Centreport, where the Kaitaki will operate as a freight-only ship from Wednesday 26 June.

All passengers and cars currently booked on the Kaitaki will be moved to alternative sailings.

Interislander added additional sailings of Arahura and Aratere ferries to help clear the backlog of freight after the storm conditions prevented sailings on Thursday evening and Friday. However, there have been some delays due to the ongoing high loads and congestion, with the resumption of KAITAKI sailings we expect the ships to back on time by Thursday morning.

Passengers are advised to contact the Interislander bookings office for updates on any delays to services on 0800 802 802.

South Island

KiwiRail staff and contractors have been working steadily to restore services after flooding and storm damage affected multiple sites on the Main South Line (between Christchurch and Dunedin). 

The line between Waitatai and Sawyers Bay (between Timaru and Dunedin) remains closed due to slips.  Track clearance is however expected this evening (Tuesday 25 June).

Opihi Bridge, south of Temuka, has one pier that has been undermined by the flood waters and twisted downstream.  Access has been hampered by floodwaters, however repairs are well underway.  The line between Temuka and Timaru remains closed.

The line between Timaru and Dunedin is now open, subject to tidal fluctuations on Lake Waihola.

We continue to work hard to reopen the affected areas as quickly as possible.

END

Media Contact: Media On Call Phone 04 498 2038