Significant rainfall impacts Main North Line


Exceptionally high levels of rain in Kaikoura in recent weeks have impacted on the Main North Line rail link between Blenheim and Christchurch.

Optimized-Work Train 70 Claverley

The region experienced twice its usual average monthly rainfall in September.

The first 10 days of October also saw 137mm of rain, compared with a usual average of 83mm for the month.

“The unusually heavy rainfall has caused 31 slips in the area, including three major slips, which have seen material come down onto the rail and road,” says KiwiRail Acting Chief Executive David Gordon.

“As a result, the Main North Line has closed temporarily while we work to make repairs and add resilience ahead of the peak freight period.

“At this stage we expect services to operate on the line again at the end of this month.

“We always knew that with the early but limited re-opening of the Main North Line, some limited disruption was possible.

“However it’s disappointing that the re-opening coincided with these high levels of rain, creating much greater disruption than we could reasonably predict.

“The impact of the rain has devastated the teams who worked so hard to get the Main North Line running again at night in a limited capacity while the rebuild continued during the day.

“We regret the effect the disruptions are having on our customers, and are keeping them informed of the situation.

“We also regret that we’ve not been able to take some of the heavy freight burden away from SH7.”

KiwiRail has an extensive safety assurance process in place and it worked as planned during these events, preserving safety at all times.