Regular trains return to Hokitika Line for dairy season

6 September 2021

With the start of the dairy season regular trains are running again from this week between Hokitika and Greymouth and KiwiRail is calling on drivers and pedestrians in the region to take extra care.

“This is a good time to remind people travelling in the area to expect trains or rail maintenance vehicles to be using the rail line at any time, day or night, seven days a week,” says KiwiRail’s South Island General Manager Mark Heissenbuttel.

“They should take care to cross safely and only cross the line at level crossings – to cross the line anywhere else is both dangerous and illegal.”

KiwiRail took advantage of the off-peak dairy season to carry out essential maintenance and to make improvements to the railway line and four level crossings, including the Kumara Junction roundabout. The level crossing at Kumara Junction has new rail track, sleepers and underground signal equipment.

KiwiRail is also continuing work to replace more than three kilometres of the rail line from Kumara heading south. So far, around 2000 new concrete sleepers have been installed to replace old timber sleepers including those across the Paroa rail bridge. Close to 1500 metres of rail has been replaced by the company’s track workers.

Improvements have also been made to trackside drainage to make the line more resilient when the region is lashed by severe weather events, says Mr Heissenbuttel.

“KiwiRail continues to invest in the Hokitika Line for the benefit of our customers and the environment. Each tonne of freight carried by rail instead of heavy trucks means 70 per cent fewer carbon emissions.”

Further work is planned over the next 18 months, including an upgrade to the rail bridge across Taramakau River which will get new steel beams.