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ONTRACK to open up tunnels in Manawatu Gorge

Media Statement 18 April 2008
For immediate release

ONTRACK to open up tunnels in Manawatu Gorge

A project to open up three railway tunnels in the Manawatu Gorge will significantly improve the flow of traffic on the line.

Railway infrastructure company ONTRACK has let a contract to construction firm HRS to ‘daylight’ three tunnels on the Palmerston North - Gisborne Line at the eastern end of the of the Manawatu Gorge.

ONTRACK Chief Executive William Peet says opening up the three tunnels will allow trains on the line to carry the larger 2.9 metre, hi cube containers.

“The tight Manawatu tunnels have long been a block to the movement of goods by rail across the North Island,” William Peet said.

“Clearance work has already been done on the two long tunnels in the middle of the Gorge by lowering their floors to create more space for the hi cube containers to pass through comfortably. With the elimination of these three tunnels the last major impediment will be removed.

“It will be a significant step towards making rail more competitive for the movement of containerised goods.”

Another advantage is that much of the rock that will be removed can be reused for other railway projects.

The tunnel works are expected to start at the end of April and due to be completed in October. The work will be scheduled around existing train movements through the Gorge.

Because of the close proximity to State Highway 3 there will be minor delays to road traffic at certain times of the day. ONTRACK and HRS are working closely with Transit NZ to keep traffic disruptions to a minimum.

The total cost of the daylighting project is $3.1million.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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