Trains are moving again on the Napier to Wairoa line for the first time in six years in an important milestone in the re-opening of the line.
“Today sees a work train travelling up to Eskdale from Napier delivering ballast, the first time there has been a train on the line since 2012,” KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says.
“The re-opening of the Wairoa - Napier line is one of the first to be funded from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, and would not have happened without it.
“It is a significant event for KiwiRail on a number of levels, and a recognition of the tremendous value that rail delivers to New Zealand.
“When this Government took office it signalled its support for rail.
“We were able to give them a list of ‘shovel ready projects’ that would enhance our role, particularly in the regions
“Having work trains running is an important part of getting the line open to shift logs by rail and take trucks off the road.
“This is an important project for the region, for New Zealand and for KiwiRail. It lifts the regional economy. It makes the roads safer by taking logging trucks off roads that were not designed to cope with growing volumes. It helps the environment by cutting carbon emissions - every tonne of freight carried by rail is a 66% emissions saving over heavy road freight.
“KiwiRail estimates that using the Wairoa-Napier line to move the logs could take more than 5500 trucks a year off the road, and cut carbon emissions by 1292 tonnes,” Mr Reidy says.
The line is expected to be ready for logging trains by the end of the year.
It is being re-opened by KiwiRail using $5 million of funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, and will be used to transport logs to Napier. The work is expected to take two years to fully complete.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones in the first work train to travel on the line, as it reaches Napier.