D Day On Taranaki Line


Tomorrow is D day for KiwiRail’s decision to mothball the rail line between Taranaki and the Waikato.

KiwiRail says closure of the direct 143km rail link runs from Stratford to Okahukura, near Taumaruni is not a foregone conclusion and it will receive submissions (send to [email protected]) until tomorrow.

But the Taranaki Daily News has reported the chances of it staying open are ‘slim.’

A major derailment closed the line in the King Country early in November and the Rail and Maritime Transport union said at the time that KiwiRail management told staff the line would remain inactive, as management claimed it was not commercially viable to fix it.

The union claimed at the time the decision was influenced by “Government pressure for rail to suddenly become a big earner, despite years of private sector mismanagement and lack of investment.”

Last week, the Taranaki Daily News said it understood the cost of repairing the damaged line would be more than earlier thought - now be as high as $2.5 million, the cost of urgent repairs to one of the line’s tunnels to be $750,000, and that a further $7m to $10m will be required to be spent on the line over the next 36 months just to keep it up to scratch.  It also reported that  Fonterra wasn’t planning to use the line in the future, opting for the rail link to Marton.

The Campaign for Better Transport’s Cameron Pitches, today urged for the link to be reopened and called for people to send in their submissions.

“This rail link is  the only alternative route between Auckland and Wellington for the main trunk line. If there is a washout or a volcanic event, rail freight between these two cities will be stuck. In the future, there are large areas of logs to be felled close to the rail route and there are even coal deposits in the region.”





  1. Steve W says:

    I believe that Kiwirail is talking to the “people” who are proposing to develop a large gasfield near the old coalfields at Tahora so there is some hope (unfortunately this won’t occur overnight). Unfortunately there was a minor washout on the line a couple of weeks ago near Te Wera.

    Certainly the more letter writers the better!

  2. Ian says:

    The line is reasonably modern with the tunnels having good clearances. Unfortunately there is not a single station still open. I’m picking that it will remain mothballed.

  3. dsadas says:

    Today is your last chance to let KiwiRail know what you think. Submissions close today.

  4. Jon R says:

    Good to see the Taranaki Daily News picked up on the CBT press release in their edition this morning.

    Get your submissions in…even if you do it this weekend…I am sure KiwiRail will accept them, but do it now!

    Who can predict use of a road or railway in the next 3, 10 or 15 years?

    We spend hundreds of millions on rebuilding the Newmarket Fly Over for a once in 1,000 year earth quake. However, this Government does not want to spend $15 millon (over 36 months) to safe guard the SOL line, in case the North Island Main Trunk is closed by Volcanic activity, wash outs or accidents ( like the Overlander vs truck on Wed).

  5. dsadas says:

    I sent a submission at about 12 hours ago, no reply so far.


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