KiwiRail has completed the restoration of the Napier to Wairoa rail and is now in the final stages of preparing to run trains to get the district’s logs to market.
“With work on the line complete, our next focus is to establish a log- hub in Wairoa so we are ready to begin running trains once harvesting gets back into full swing at the end of winter,” says KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller.
“We know from our discussions with forestry industry there is a need for our services.
“The amount of timber flowing from forests in the region is expected to quadruple in the next four years, and to get all those logs to market will require all transport networks working efficiently together.
“The funding we have received from the Government’s Provincial Growth fund to restore this line means we will be ready to meet the growing demand for transport.
“We are taking a staged approach to meet this demand, starting with two services a week from later this year.
“Once the harvest gets into full swing we expect we will be running up to six trains a week.
“That means more than 5000 fewer truck journeys from Wairoa to Napier a year initially, rising to more than 15,000 as our services increase.
“The Government’s allocation of $6.2 million to the project through the Provincial Growth Fund recognises the benefits rail brings.
“Moving logs by rail takes pressure off the roads, and reduces greenhouse gases. The Wairoa-Napier road was never intended to cope with the volume of logs that is coming on stream, and rail is the ideal way to get that timber to overseas customers.
“The overall funding KiwiRail received has meant we are able to get ahead of the curve and grow our business for the benefit of this region.
“I am proud of the work that our teams have put in to getting this line up and running, and ready to play an important role in the region.”
The 115 km stretch of rail line was mothballed in December 2012 following severe storm damage.