30 September 2021
Growing demand to get Hawkes Bay logs to port will see KiwiRail increase its log trains so they run every weekday, KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle says.
The Government invested $6.2 million to re-open the weather-damaged Napier to Wairoa rail line, with log trains running on weekends since late 2019. The trains run from a log hub in Wairoa to the Port of Napier.
From Monday, 4 October KiwiRail will begin running log services every weekday (Monday – Friday).
“Our log trains have become a vital link in the region’s forestry supply chain, helping reduce the number of heavy log trucks on regional roads that were never designed for them,” Mr Moyle says.
“Harvest volumes in the Hawke’s Bay region are predicted to exceed 4 million tonnes per annum over the next five years, so there is a clear demand for rail.
“With harvests now beginning in more forests around Wairoa, our log trains are really coming into their own.
“Each weekday service will consist of around 23 wagons. Over the course of a year, that’s removing the need for more than 10,000 truck movements - reducing congestion, road maintenance costs and improving road safety between Wairoa and Napier.
“Given trains have 70 percent fewer carbon emissions per tonne carried compared with road, we are also doing more to reduce transport emissions.”
Mr Moyle said more services meant motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and farmers needed to be more cautious around the rail line between Wairoa and Napier’s port.
“Going from running trains two days a week to at least five, means that the line will be busier. People travelling in the area need to take special care around level crossings, and anyone crossing the tracks should approach them as if a train may be coming – at any time and from either direction.
“People should always look both ways for trains when approaching a level crossing. Trains always have right of way.
“We also want to remind people that it is unsafe and against the law to walk along or across railway tracks. The only safe place for pedestrians to cross tracks is at a level crossing.”
KiwiRail will be running an advertising campaign in the Napier-Wairoa area to raise train safety awareness.
Trains are scheduled to travel from Napier to Wairoa every weekday morning, returning to Napier around midday, but timetables can change without notice.