KiwiRail ferries back in full operation for first time since quake

06 December 2016 12:12PM

KiwiRail’s Interislander ferries are back in full operation for the first time since the Kaikoura earthquake, with the railspan that allows rail wagons to be loaded on the Aratere now restored.

“This is great news and means the ferries are running normally for Christmas,” says KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy.

“Having three ferries back in full operation gives our freight customers maximum flexibility and resilience and keeps tourists moving across the Strait in this busy Christmas period.

“Having our rail capacity restored on the Aratere for the first time since last month’s quake increases capacity for all our freight customers and passenger vehicles on the two other ferries just in time for the real peak December period.

“It also means quicker transits to and from the expanded Spring Creek freight hub near Blenheim.

“Getting the rail link operating was the missing piece we needed to get the ferries back to normal,” says Mr Reidy.

Both the Wellington and the Picton passenger terminals are also fully operational. The ferries will be making up to six return crossings per day (increasing to seven in the week before Christmas) and 38 return crossings per week.

The first Aratere sailing carrying rail wagons left Wellington yesterday afternoon.