Railway line nears end of slip repairs

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:00 19/08/2013

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Repair work on a washed-out section of Tararua railway line is almost finished, with the total cost likely to top $300,000.

On July 14, a 30-metre slip on the freight line between Palmerston North and Napier closed a section of track at Matamau Ormondville Rd, 15 kilometres north of Dannevirke.

The railway track was suspended in midair after mud, rocks and other debris rolled down a hillside and cleared out the land under the line.

Farmer Kris Wiffin, who runs a 55-hectare sheep and beef farm where the slip was, alerted KiwiRail after her grandson Jonty Anderson raised the alarm.

Emergency repair workers, who battled tough weather, had the line back up and running within days.

KiwiRail spokeswoman Sarah Pomeroy said work at the site was now almost finished.

"We're just tidying up now and adding some minor retaining walls a little further along with the slip site.

"There is a significant amount of sodden material left over from the slip and we'll need to return to the site in summer to remove this."

The repairs were expected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000, Ms Pomeroy said.

The line was regularly inspected and KiwiRail was aware of no other structural problems.

Mrs Wiffin said there had been no more slips on the railway line through her farm since July, but she was always keeping an eye out.

"Farmers are always vigilant about slips and flooding," she said.

When the slip happened, quite a few people took the chance to have a look at the washed-out railway line.

In 2004, KiwiRail moved the track after another washout on the farm.

Freight services between Manawatu and Hawke's Bay use the line.

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- Manawatu Standard

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