New Zealand rebuilds quake-hit region's railway

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-15 20:09:26|Editor: Song Lifang
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WELLINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Freight was rolling again on Friday morning on New Zealand South Island's Main North Line, 10 months after last November's 7.8-magnitude Kaikoura earthquake.

The first train carrying goods from Picton arrived in Christchurch on Friday, marking the start of a five-nights-per-week service, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said in a statement.

"Keeping freight flowing easily and efficiently around New Zealand is critical to our economic growth and keeping our communities connected," Bridges said, adding that having this key freight service running again is "an immense achievement," which will take pressure off the inland routes while helping with the rebuild of State Highway 1 during the day.

"Today's first rail services, even in a limited capacity, will take around 2,000 trucks off the road each month, building to 4,000 trucks when the line is fully operating again by the end of the year," Bridges said.

Following November's quake, there were close to 60 major damage sites, including tunnels, bridges and embankments, and the line had been buried under more than 100 slips and landslides, he said, adding that approximately 60 bridges were damaged and repairs required at more than 750 sites.

Repairs have been conducted by over 1,500 workers from KiwiRail, the NZ Transport Agency and their partners in the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance, according to the minister.

"The government is committed to restoring the road and rail services along this important coastal corridor," Bridges said, adding that a range of business support packages were provided for the tourism industry and primary sector to rebuild the local economy.