Progress in restoring Christchurch-Picton line boosted by tamper’s arrival

15 March 2017 12:12PM

A KiwiRail ballast tamper has arrived in the South Island  to assist in the restoration of the Main North Line (MNL) railway linking Christchurch and Picton.

“The tamper, along with its crew of six, is normally based in Palmerston North, but has been shifted south as part of KiwiRail’s efforts to re-open the earthquake-damaged line as quickly as possible,” KiwiRail Acting Chief Executive Todd Moyle says.

 “The Main North Line railway between Picton and Christchurch is a critical part of the network for moving freight between the North and South Islands.

 “Before the earthquake, more than 1 million tonnes of freight was moved on the MNL each year.

 “Bringing a tamper down from the North Island helps us to work on the line from both ends at once, and that will help us get the line up and running as soon as possible.

“The tamper follows maintenance trains, which are replacing ballast that was lost during the November earthquake. It packs the ballast under the sleepers and corrects the track alignment.

 “The work it does is vital to preparing the line to re-open.

 “There are two tamper units that are based in the South Island but they are both south of where the line was cut.

 “One of those tampers will also be working north later this month.

“The tamper that arrived today was transported across Cook Strait on the Aratere.  It consists of three units weighing a total of 230 tonnes.

 "The arrival of the tamper is an important step forward in getting the line open. There is still work to be done but we are making good progress in restoring this vital link," says Todd Moyle.


Simon Kilroy

027 405 6800

KiwiRail Communications