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Tremendous progress on Main North Line continues

Media Release

28 March 2018

Tremendous progress on Main North Line continues

The re-opening of State Highway One at night through Kaikoura from mid-April underlines the tremendous progress being made to restore the transport networks in the wake of the 2016 earthquake, says KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy.

“We know locals, tourists and businesses will all welcome the option of having two road routes plus rail freight services to choose from,” he says.

“This is another key milestone as we continue the journey towards restoring road and rail networks to pre-earthquake conditions.”

The Main North Line reopened with a restricted level of service in September 2017, with State Highway One following three months later.

More than 170,000 tonnes of freight have been moved on the rail line since then, meaning around 12,000 fewer trucks on the roads.

“We’ve seen excellent progress since then, even with the impact of events like Cyclone Gita. KiwiRail’s focus is on improving the resilience and reliability of the rail line for our customers,” Mr Reidy says.

“With repairs being completed at many more sites since we reopened, trains are completing the trip more quickly and moving forwards we expect considerably fewer instances when the line needs to be closed on a precautionary basis due to heavy rainfall in the area.

“This has already improved services for our customers and we expect to see further incremental gains over the coming months.

“Night-time only services will continue for the next few months to allow the rebuild of the rail and road works to continue during the day. However we are getting closer to announcing a date for the return of our award-winning Coastal Pacific rail journey which is likely to be in time for the peak summer season towards the end of the year.

“With the road moving to day and night operations from April this is a good time to remind motorists to take care at level crossings along the route,” Mr Reidy says.

“Trains and other rail vehicles can run at any time and from either direction on the line between PIcton and Christchurch as the recovery works continue, so we urge all motorists to check both ways at all crossings before proceeding.”


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