KiwiRail has reopened the Napier to Wairoa rail line, to work closely with heavy forestry trucks and deliver economic growth in the region.
After the Napier - Gisborne Line was badly damaged by a storm in March 2012, the line was mothballed, because the cost of repairing and maintaining it far exceeded its commercial value at the time.
But as New Zealand’s “Wall of Wood” comes onstream, with log tonnages projected to peak at 44 million tonnes in 2032/33, KiwiRail with the help of the Provincial Growth Fund has reopened the line between Napier and Wairoa.
Using the Napier-Wairoa line to move logs is good for the region, the environment and New Zealand.
It lifts the regional economy with extra jobs. It creates efficiencies for logging truck companies which can make quicker turnarounds, and reduces wear and tear on long distance roads that were not designed to cope with growing volumes and weight. It helps the environment by cutting carbon emissions - every tonne of freight carried by rail is a 66% emissions saving over heavy road freight.
A work train travels across the picturesque Mohaka Viaduct in 2018.
Regular log trains have begun operating following the completion of the new log yard in Wairoa. At this stage we expect to operate two trains a week, on Saturdays and Sundays. This service frequency is expected to expand as logging forests mature.
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. Be aware that specialist maintenance vehicles and trains also travel on the railway line.
Our thanks to Napier City Council, Hastings District Council, Wairoa District Council, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Napier Port and local logging companies for their support.
In September 2018, severe weather in Hawke’s Bay caused a significant washout of around 45m of track just north of Raupunga.
It took several months to reinstate the embankment and reconnect the track, with work trains once again able to travel through the area from April 2019.