First log train runs on Wairoa line

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJanuary 28, 2020

Regular log trains began running between Wairoa and Napier Port on 26 January following completion of the new log yard in Wairoa.

KiwiRail chief operating officer Todd Moyle said now KiwiRail had its logging yard consents in place, two trains a week would run, on Saturdays and Sundays.

“With the track 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.

“Each train could take up to 50 long distance truck hauls off the road between Napier and Wairoa, with 66 percent fewer emissions per tonne of freight carried by rail compared with trucks.”

Moyle said log export forecasts show a wall of wood will be ready for export within 18 months, and the volume of logs harvested will continue to grow over the coming years, so there is plenty of room for the services to grow.

“Growing this business will assist local businesses to harvest and transport large volumes of logs, help bring profitability to KiwiRail, benefit the East Cape region with less congestion and road wear and tear, and bring added benefits from lower emissions.

Moyle said the Government‘s allocation of $6.2 million to the project through the Provincial Growth Fund was recognition of the proven benefits rail brings.

“We welcome the involvement of ISO Ltd at Wairoa as the log marshaller for KiwiRail. That allows logs to be scaled for export off port and that improves efficiency for delivery onto port.”

Napier Port‘s general manager commercial David Kriel said KiwiRail had put in a lot of work behind the scenes to get the line running commercially, and it‘s fantastic to see that work coming to fruition.

“It‘s great to be able to assist in offering our Wairoa customers a safe, direct, and sustainable alternative to trucking logs via State Highway 2, and it will really help to unlock the economic potential of the Wairoa region.”

Forest Management (NZ) joint chief executive Steve Bell said using rail to shift logs from Wairoa to Napier Port builds resilience into their operation.

“It gives us more options, and that is vital as the harvest increases and more logs are harvested. Using the hub at Wairoa means we can turn our trucks round in less than half the time, and that means we can shift more logs quickly and efficiently.”