Below Rail Infrastructure, Engineering, Freight Rail

Third ballast tamper brought in for New Zealand track repairs

The arrival of a KiwiRail ballast tamper on New Zealand’s South Island should greatly assist with the restoration of the Main North Line linking Christchurch to Picton, as KiwiRail continues to recover the line after last year’s Kaikoura earthquake.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 last year left the train line seriously damaged.

KiwiRail, the state-owned operator in New Zealand, is handling the massive repair job.

The operator said on March 15 the ballast tamper had been brought in from the North Island, where it is usually kept at Palmerston North.

KiwiRail acting chief executive Todd Moyle said the tamper, along with its crew of six, would help the operator achieve its goal to re-open the earthquake-damaged line as quickly as possible.

“The Main North Line railway between Picton and Christchurch is a critical part of the network for moving freight between the North and South Islands,” Moyle said.

“Before the earthquake, more than 1 million tonnes of freight was moved on the MNL each year.

“Bringing a tamper down from the North Island helps us to work on the line from both ends at once, and that will help us get the line up and running as soon as possible.”

The tamper trails maintenance trains, which are working to replace ballast that was lost during the earthquake. It packs the ballast under the sleepers, and corrects the track alignment.

“The work it does is vital to preparing the line to re-open,” Moyle continued.

“There are two tamper units that are based in the South Island but they are both south of where the line was cut. One of those tampers will also be working north later this month.”

The new tamper onsite was moved by boat over the Cook Strait in three units, weighing a total of 230 tonnes.

“The arrival of the tamper is an important step forward in getting the line open. There is still work to be done but we are making good progress in restoring this vital link,” Moyle concluded.

Send this to a friend