From tomorrow trains will be running north of Claverley towards Kaikoura on the Main North Line for the first time since the earthquake.
“Repair work to allow the 1000-tonne plus work trains to go as far as Oaro has finished, and the trains are now ready to help work on the repairs needed to get the line open and carrying freight again,” says KiwiRail group general manager network services Todd Moyle.
“Work trains will be laying ballast under and around the sleepers to lock in the track alignment. The work train is followed by a tamper, which packs the ballast under the sleepers and makes final adjustments to the alignment and level of the track.”
Moyle says in the north, work trains are now travelling as far south as Wharanui.
“The arrival of work trains means progress not just for the rail, but for the whole transport corridor. It also means that people need to be extremely careful around the rail corridor and when using level crossings as there has been little activity on the line until now since November’s earthquake.
“It is not only work trains and tamper units that are moving on the line, but also hi-rail vehicles – vehicles that go on rail. We should all treat the corridor as ‘live’ at all times.”
TrackSAFE Foundation manager Megan Drayton says people need to understand they must stay off railway tracks, and cross only at level crossings.
“Always slow down as you’re approaching a level crossing and be prepared to stop. Look out for trains, obey the signs and signals at crossings and always stay off the tracks.
“Trains are deceptively quiet and they can't stop in a hurry or swerve to avoid anything on the tracks,” she says.
Moyle says the work train moving north to Oaro is another sign of the serious progress that is being made on reopening the line for freight services.
“This is an enormous project but I am confident we will get the job done safely and as quickly as possible.”