Faulty wagons being repaired

Five hundred faulty rail wagons made in China are being repaired in Picton at no cost to KiwiRail, the company says.

Senior communications adviser Jenni Austin said the freight wagons, bought in 2011, were still under warranty.

The Chinese supplier, China CNR Corporation, sent 12 staff to Picton to carry out the repair work, Austin said. They would work alongside a team of translators under the supervision of KiwiRail's mechanical team.

KiwiRail was using the repair work programme to also upgrade brake components on the wagons, allowing them to carry heavier loads, Austin said.

She would not reveal the cost of the upgrade work.

"It is work we planned to do anyway to bring the wagons in line with a new standardised design we adopted and to future-proof for heavier freight loads of up to 64 tonnes from 56 tonnes," she said.

Work on the 500 faulty wagons began in Picton at the start of this month.

KiwiRail senior communications adviser Helen Corrigan said 16 wagons had been completed. Nine were back in service and a further seven were waiting to be signed off.

The Chinese workers were repairing about two wagons a day, she said. They hoped to increase their work rate to three or four a day in the next month.

KiwiRail decided to carry out the repair and upgrade work at its Picton mechanical depot in Lagoon Rd because of its size and central location.

The Marlborough Express