Reconstruction works on the earthquake damaged Picton to Christchurch line are getting nearer to completion, with only 10 kilometres of rail still requiring repairs before trains will be able to operate over the whole length of the 348-kilometre line.
The 10 kilometres of work will include some of the toughest jobs since the earthquake in November last year, according to KiwiRail’s general manager of network services, Todd Moyle. Their completion will allow work trains to work along the entirety of the line for the first time.
“Having work trains operating on the line will be a significant achievement in itself and is a key step in getting the Main North Line re-opened for freight services,” Moyle said.
“We are unable to put a firm date on the re-opening yet, but we will get the freight trains running again as quickly as is safely possible.”
The Main North Line between Picton and Christchurch is a critical section of the network connecting freight movements between New Zealand’s North and South Islands, with over 1 million tonnes of freight being carried along its length between Picton and Christchurch before the earthquake last year.
On Monday, a significant milestone was reached when, for the first time since the earthquake, a train was able to cross the 148-metre-long Clarence Bridge.
“Repairs to the bridge mean work trains can now carry materials over it from the north, to help with the rebuild further south,” Moyle said.