The $6.2 million Provincial Growth Fund investment into the Wairoa-Napier rail is paying off with service frequency increasing to five days per week, up from the previous weekend only service.
The trains run from a log hub in Wairoa to the Port of Napier, and commenced the weekday service in early October.
KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle says growing demand to get Hawke’s Bay logs to port is behind the move.
“Our log trains have become a vital link in the region’s forestry supply chain, helping reduce the number of heavy log trucks on regional roads that were never designed for them.
“Harvest volumes in the region are predicted to exceed 4 million tonnes per annum over the next five years, so there is a clear demand for rail.
“With harvests now beginning in more forests around Wairoa, our log trains are really coming into their own.”
Key facts of the weekday service:
- Each weekday service consists of around 23 wagons
- Over 12 months removes the need for >10,000 truck movements
- Reduces road congestion
- Reduces the need for road maintenance costs
- Improves road safety between Wairoa and Napier
- Significantly reduces carbon emissions per tonne carried compared to road.
KiwiRail says road users need to be more cautious around the rail line, and take special care.
“Going from running trains two days a week to at least five, means that the line will be busier. People travelling in the area need to take special care around level crossings, and anyone crossing the tracks should approach them as if a train may be coming – at any time and from either direction.
“We also want to remind people that it is unsafe and against the law to walk along or across railway tracks. The only safe place for pedestrians to cross tracks is at a level crossing,” says Moyle.
KiwiRail will be running an advertising campaign in the Napier-Wairoa area to raise train safety awareness.
Trains are scheduled to travel from Napier to Wairoa every weekday morning, returning to Napier around midday, but timetables can change without notice.