Ballast drop day for Wairoa-Napier line
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones will today mark the return of trains on the Napier to Wairoa line for the first time in six years.
Earlier this year, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) committed $5 million to KiwiRail to reopen the Wairoa-Napier line for logging trains, taking more than 5,700 trucks off the road each year.
“Today’s ballast drop marks a significant milestone for the project – one of the first to be funded by the PGF,” Shane Jones said.
Track ballast is the crushed stone that forms the trackbed on which the sleepers are laid.
“I thank KiwiRail and local stakeholders for getting this project under way so quickly and ensuring the line will be ready to take logging trains by the end of the year.
“The last train on the line reached Napier at 4.37pm on December 4, 2012, and was marked by a small protest on the tracks, with staff holding signs that said ‘you’ll be back’.
“So today is an important day – with the first of the work trains returning to deliver ballast on the line.
“The Government is making safety a higher priority when it invests in transport and taking logging trucks off challenging roads contributes to that. We’re strongly committed to making significant investment in regional rail and I look forward to being able to make more announcements with KiwiRail in the coming months.
“KiwiRail is experiencing growth in its overall forestry business – a result being driven by an increase in the volume of logs – and the Government sees substantial benefits in using rail to decrease the number of logging trucks on our roads.
“Rail generates 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions compared to heavy trucks – the sort of reduction we need to meet our country’s ambitious climate change targets,” Shane Jones said.