Containers racket a fact of life

Last updated 10:50 12/12/2013
Joshua Elflein
Emma Allen
Marlborough sounds: Backpackers Joshua Elflein from the United States and Viola Monschau from Germany, who are staying at The Fat Cod Backpackers in Picton, say they are used to noisy backpackers and come prepared with ear plugs

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Picton residents don't seem to be bothered by KiwiRail plans to load and unload containers in the rail yard near the ferry terminal until road-rail ferry the Aratere is back in full service.

KiwiRail has distributed fliers warning people about increased activity in the Picton rail yard until its ferries are back to carrying full loads of freight.

Communications adviser Jenni Austin said north-bound containers were being taken off trains at the Picton yard, loaded on to trailers then on to ferries and vice versa for southbound freight.

The extra loading and unloading started during the weekend and would continue while road-rail ferry Aratere was out of full service with only one propeller, she said.

But residents in the port town are used to 24/7 activity.

Miriam Sullivan, 87, who lives in Auckland St about 400 metres from the Picton rail yard, said it was nice of KiwiRail to let her know about the change.

"I can't see that it will worry me," she said. "I don't hear a thing once I go to bed."

The Villa Backpackers owner Rob Burn said the sound of shunting trains was part of the Picton scene.

"This is a working port," he said. "We are all thrilled to keep the ferries and with ferries come trains. We can't celebrate one and complain about the other."

Rachelle McLeod, owner of the Fat Cod Backpackers near the Picton rail yard, said guests knew the building backed onto a train station so must expect to hear some noise.

However, it was no worse than a downtown hostel in Wellington.

Backpackers tended to use earplugs, she said.

The Aratere broke a driveshaft and lost a propeller in Cook Strait during an evening sailing from Picton to Wellington


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- The Marlborough Express


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