KiwiRail has announced that the Napier-Wairoa line has been reinstated following several years of disuse.
The 115-kilometre, North Island line fell into disuse in December 2012 after being damaged by a storm and was not repaired. It has been restored with the allocation of NZ$6.2 million in funds through the New Zealand Government’s Provincial Growth Fund.
The line’s primary purpose is to run freight logs for the local timber industry. Reopening the line is set to ease congestion on the roads and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of log deliveries by road. In all, KiwiRail anticipates an initial reduction of more than 5,000 ruck journey per year on the road from Wairoa to Napier, to increase to 15,000 as services increase.
‘The Wairoa-Napier road was never intended to cope with the volume of logs that is coming on stream, and rail is the ideal way to get that timber to overseas customers,” said KiwiRail Group chief executive officer Greg Miller.
“The overall funding KiwiRail received has meant we are able to get ahead of the curve and grow our business for the benefit of this region.”
Miller said that now that work on the line had been completed, KiwiRail would work to establish a log hub in Wairoa so that trains could begin to run in time for harvesting at the end of winter.
“We know from our discussions with the forestry industry there is a need for our services,” he said.
“The amount of timber flowing from forests in the region is expected to quadruple in the next four years, and to get all those logs to market will require all transport networks working efficiently together.”