Log trains are running again on the Wairoa-Napier line from this weekend. Services were suspended earlier this year as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the forestry industry. KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle said the first train ran last weekend.
He said, “We’re pleased to get the service up and running again, however, with the track now back in regular use, people travelling in the area will need to take special care around level crossings. Those crossing the tracks should expect trains at any time and from either direction.”
“Initially there will be two return trains each weekend. Each train is expected to consist of 24 wagons, the equivalent of 24 truckloads of logs,” he added
Over time, as log volumes increase, they expect to run trains daily as there are significant numbers of forests in the Wairoa catchment that are reaching maturity. Harvest volumes in the Hawke’s Bay region are predicted to reach 3.3 million tonnes per annum in the next few years and remain at high levels until the mid-2030s, so we know there is a demand for rail.
Rail infrastructure investment has multiple, long-term benefits, some of which are not immediately obvious. For example, moving more logs by rail instead of trucks reduces road maintenance costs and congestion and improves road safety – particularly on regional roads like those between Napier and Wairoa which were not designed for heavy trucks. Given trains have 70 per cent fewer emissions than trucks per tonne of freight, it also helps reduce transport emissions.
The line was rebuilt with $6.2 million provided to the project through the Provincial Growth Fund.
Photo: KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle