Line to West Coast set to re-open earlier than expected
01 March 2017 9:09AM
KiwiRail is expecting to re-open the Midland line between Christchurch and Greymouth ahead of schedule on March 20.
The line was badly damaged when a fire swept through 300 ha between Cass and Springfield over Waitangi weekend, damaging several bridges along the route, including one where 12 wooden piles needed to be replaced.
Initial estimates were that the repairs would take at least six weeks, and KiwiRail had been expecting to re-open the line in early April.
“Our staff have worked incredibly hard and we should be ready to re-open the line earlier than that, exactly six weeks after the fire,” Group General Manager Network Service Todd Moyle says.
“This is especially impressive because of the difficulty of accessing the sites where the work is being carried out.
“This line is important to KiwiRail. It is used by the world-renowned TranzAlpine service, and also for shipping coal and dairy products from the West Coast.
“The services we provide are significant to the West Coast. For example, West Coast Tourism has estimated that the TranzAlpine brings in excess of $15 million a year into the region.
“We are pleased that, through the efforts of our staff, the devastating impact of the fire on those services has been limited as much as possible,” says Todd Moyle.
The line will initially open for freight with the TranzAlpine service expected to resume shortly after.
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