Rail line to West Coast to close for at least six weeks following fire

07 February 2017 2:02PM

The Christchurch-Greymouth line between Cass and Springfield is still closed because of a fire.

The Midland train line from Christchurch to Greymouth will be out of action for at least six weeks following a 300 ha fire in a remote part of the South Island over the weekend.

The fire has damaged bridges, track and signal systems and affected services including the renowned TranzAlpine journey, plus coal and dairy freight services.

KiwiRail Group General Manager of Network Services Todd Moyle says crews from around the country will be brought in to tackle the reinstatement of the line as quickly as possible.

“Hot and windy conditions at the weekend meant several of our bridges along the route were damaged, including one bridge where 12 wooden piles will need to be replaced.

“We are still working through the quickest course of action to reinstate the line. Heat spots in the area remain a concern.

“We are very disappointed for the many international tourists who have travelled to New Zealand and will now miss out on the opportunity to enjoy our world renowned TranzAlpine service. Full refunds are being offered as well as short term bus services.

“We are also working closely with our freight customers on the fast reinstatement of the train services that move their goods.

“Although there is a lot of work to do, we don’t see this job affecting the rail rebuild happening across the island on the Main North Line, which is continuing at pace after November’s Kaikoura earthquake.

“Fires like this can be devastating and we are thankful that no one was in danger at any stage. We are also grateful to the New Zealand Fire Service and the Department of Conservation for their amazing work over the weekend to bring this 300 ha fire under control,” Todd Moyle says.

Contact: Simon Kilroy Senior Communications Advisor

027 405 6800