Below Rail Infrastructure, Engineering, Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

Kaikoura earthquake rebuild nominated for international award

KiwiRail, NZ Transport Agency and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance have been named as one of the 10 finalists from around the world for the Institution of Civil Engineers People’s Choice Award 2018, having been nominated for their work to repair and reopen the Main North Line and State Highway One following the Kaikoura earthquake in late 2016.

The winner of the award will be determined by public vote. KiwiRail’s acting chief executive said that a large amount of support had come in from the freight industry and engineering professionals around the country as word spreads about the nomination.

“Being considered one of the top 10 projects in the world, and the only Southern Hemisphere finalist, is a wonderful recognition of the skills and dedication of everyone involved in this project,” said Moyle.

“This nomination demonstrates New Zealand’s strengths in engineering and emergency recovery. Just as important, however, is the well-deserved recognition of the hard work and dedication of thousands of workers whose efforts meant cut-off communities were reconnected, and freight flows restored quickly after that devastating earthquake.”

The Main North Line, which runs between Picton and Christchurch, is a major link in New Zealand’s transport supply network, with over 1 million tonnes of freight travelling between the North and South islands every year before the earthquake left over 150 kilometres of its length damaged.

Intense repair works allowed an initial restricted re-opening of the line in September 2017 for low-frequency freight services running five nights a week to allow repair and rebuilding work to continue. However, these were quickly suspended after exceptionally high levels of rain in Kaikoura, followed by another limited reopening of the line in November.

After being hit by Cyclone Gita in late February, freight services were once again briefly closed down for track repairs.

Despite the setbacks, the efforts of work teams from KiwiRail, NZ Transport Agency and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR), have meant that freight trains have been able to return to the line, with tens of thousands of tonnes of freight now being delivered via the Main North Line once again. KiwiRail is also looking forward to reintroducing its iconic Coastal Pacific scenic tourist train service in December this year.

“As the winner is being determined by popular vote, we are hoping Kiwis will show their appreciation for the tremendous efforts of all involved and vote for the project” Moyle said.

Voting will close for the award on September 26.

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