KiwiRail’s Interislander ferries are back in full operation for the first time since the Kaikoura earthquake, with the rail span that allows rail wagons to be loaded on the Aratere now restored.
KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said the ferries will be running normally for Christmas and having three ferries back in full operation gave freight customers maximum flexibility and resilience and kept tourists moving across the Strait in this busy holiday period.
“Having our rail capacity restored on the Aratere for the first time since last month’s quake increases capacity for all our freight customers and passenger vehicles on the two other ferries just in time for the real peak December period. It also means quicker transits to and from the expanded Spring Creek freight hub near Blenheim.”
Reidy said getting the rail link operating was the missing piece KiwiRail needed to get the ferries back to normal.
Both the Wellington and the Picton passenger terminals are also fully operational. The ferries will be making up to six return crossings per day (increasing to seven in the week before Christmas) and 38 return crossings per week.
The first Aratere sailing carrying rail wagons left Wellington on the afternoon of 5 December.