KiwiRail working hard to get freight moving again

KiwiRail is working alongside NZTA as quickly as possible to re-open the rail line and State Highway between Blenheim and Christchurch after it was hit by the sting of Cyclone Gita.

Slips have closed the State Highway and the Main North Line between Picton and Christchurch along the Kaikoura coast.

“A lot of the areas where work had been done after the 2016 earthquake have held up well in the face of the severe weather that hit the area,” KiwiRail Main North Line Project Director Walter Rushbrook says.

“However around 300,000 cubic metres of material has been spread across 60 sites from Parnassus to Clarence. This has shut both road and rail.

“This was truly exceptional weather. The rainfall was extreme. In some places it exceeded  200mm in 18 hours, which NIWA reported as being 28 per cent of the normal annual rainfall for the area.

“Our KiwiRail and NCTIR teams are already underway clearing and repairing the track, but this work will take some time, and   we will not be in a position to run any trains between Blenheim and Christchurch next week. 

“We will get the line open again as soon as we possibly can, and we are already working on getting the freight rolling again by  extending  operating hours at our Blenheim Freight Hub to support transport of freight through the South Island.

“In the meantime, we are in  close contact with our customers  keeping them updated on the situation. An update on the target rail reopening time will be provided next week,” says Mr Rushbrook.