We’re reopening the Napier to Wairoa railway line

KiwiRail freight trains are returning to the Napier to Wairoa railway line. ‘Work trains’ and other specialised rail vehicles are already using the line to get it ready for opening. We’re excited to be back!

We expect the line to reopen in the next few months. Unfortunately a major slip near Raupunga in 2018 has delayed the reopening.


About the Napier to Wairoa line

This line is part of the Palmerston North to Gisborne line. This section was closed six years ago. Now, with funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, the line will reopen for logging trains.

The line is 115 km long. It includes 118 level crossings. Thirty-three are public crossings where the railway line is crossed by a public road; 85 are private crossings and provide access to private land (e.g. a farm).


A good news story for the Hawkes Bay region

At KiwiRail we want to play an active role in building sustainable regional communities. The Government’s investment in rail in the regions is helping us step up this work. The reopened Napier to Wairoa line will support local businesses and jobs, initially mainly in the forestry industry. We’re pleased to have employed several local people in our own Kiwirail team to help us run our operations.

Logs from the region’s many forests will be loaded onto our trains at a new yard in Wairoa, bound for the Port of Napier for export. Taking trucks off the road makes the region’s roads safer. It also reduces congestion on State Highway 2, the costs of maintaining roads, and greenhouse gas emissions. Each tonne of freight carried by rail instead of road reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 66 per cent.


Freight operations

At this stage we will be operating our freight trains during the day, at weekends only. There will be one return train (Napier – Wairoa – Napier) each Saturday and Sunday in the afternoon. This service frequency is expected to expand from around 2021.


Keeping people safe around railway tracks

We want to make sure that people understand how to stay safe around the railway track. Please remember to look both ways for trains. They can appear at any time, from either direction. And please make yourself familiar with this information:



If you live or work near the railway line

Please keep yourself safe! Be aware too that we will be maintaining the tracks from time to time. This work may be noisy and dusty.


If you live near the new Wairoa freight yard

Trucks will deliver logs to the yard during business hours, generally Monday to Friday. Based on current plans, we expect around 10 to 12 trucks to arrive at and leave the yard each day.

Trains will arrive in Wairoa around 12.50pm each Saturday and Sunday. They will load logs for a 4pm departure.

The yard is likely to operate between approximately 7am and 3pm on week days and slightly later at the weekends. There will be some noise from vehicles unloading logs from trucks, moving logs and loading them on our trains. There will also be some visual changes (e.g. logs stacked in the yard and a small prefab office). We are not installing floodlighting at this stage.  

We will be inviting local residents and businesses to an informal ‘drop-in’ session to hear your views and answer any questions you have.


If you have a ‘private level crossing’ over the railway line

You may be currently accessing part or all of your land by crossing the railway lines using a level crossing – usually a driveway, access track, or farm track.

Please be aware that you need a Deed of Grant agreement for every private crossing you are using. This agreement gives you the right to pass over the railway line to access your property at the crossing, and outlines our joint roles and responsibilities to keep the crossing safe to use.

If you already have a Deed of Grant, we will be contacting you to update this agreement. If you do not yet have a Deed of Grant, we will contact you to set one up. If you do not hear from us by August 2019 about a level crossing you are using and you would like to continue to use it, or you would like more information, please contact us at grants@kiwirail.co.nz or 04 494 3671.

Contacting us 


Contact details

Emergencies (e.g. level crossing emergencies and faults, blocked railway lines)

0800 808 400 (24/7)


If you witness someone trespassing on the railway track or vandalising railway property

New Zealand Police

Other issues (e.g. overgrown vegetation, dumped litter, graffiti, general enquiries)


Information about private level crossings


grants@kiwirail.co.nz or 04 494 3671



Thanks to our partners

Our thanks to Napier City Council, Hastings District Council, Wairoa District Council, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Ports of Napier and local logging companies for their support.

Thanks, too, to the many members of our KiwiRail team involved in this complex project, including our engineers, project managers, operations and commercial teams.

We’re pleased to be playing a part to support Hawkes Bay people and businesses.