KiwiRail welcomes funding for improvements on West Coast

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 10, 2020

KiwiRail welcomes the government‘s announcement that it is providing $13 million for geotechnical work that will make rail and road transport more reliable in and out of Greymouth.

In October last year a slip at Omoto, near Greymouth, stopped TranzAlpine train services to and from the town for more than a month, also disrupting freight train services and the local highway.

“A long-term, comprehensive solution is required for this slope and we‘re delighted that we now have the funding to achieve that,” KiwiRail Group chief executive Greg Miller says.

“Every tonne of heavy freight delivered by rail results in 66 percent fewer emissions than the equivalent freight being carried by road, so KiwiRail is working hard to encourage companies to make that shift.

“Everything we can do to make rail freight more reliable helps New Zealand lower its emissions, helps make KiwiRail more sustainable, and reduces truck numbers on the country‘s roads.”

The $13m, part of an infrastructure fund announced by the government in this year‘s Budget, will extend the stabilisation measures on a hillside that is traversed by SH7 and KiwiRail‘s Midland Line, and remains susceptible to further subsidence.

KiwiRail will lead the work, which will include local contractors and suppliers, and bring jobs, income and investment to the West Coast during this difficult economic period.

“No company is more Kiwi than KiwiRail and we focus whenever we can on supporting local businesses, whether they are importers, exporters, suppliers or our valued tourism partners,” says Miller.

The work is expected to involve the installation of horizontal drains between internal layers of the hillside, which will remove water, and the installation of in-ground piles/retaining structures to tie the top sliding layer and the bottom layer together.

“We‘re grateful to have our shareholding ministers‘ support for this infrastructure upgrade. We‘re sure locals and visitors on the West Coast will, like KiwiRail, be pleased to see this work being undertaken to improve the resilience of the region‘s transport connections.”

The work is expected to be completed in the next year.