Train drivers face long delays until Kaikōura tracks reopen

8:21 pm on 1 December 2016

South Island train drivers might have their roles shaken up after the main rail lines were severely damaged in the Kaikōura earthquake.

A Kiwirail train is seen on the Kaikoura Coast after yesterday's earthquake.

A KiwiRail train is seen on the Kaikōura Coast the day after the earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Train lines that stretched across the upper east coast of the South Island were torn apart by the force of last week's magnitude 7.8 quake.

KiwiRail network services general manager Todd Moyle said the company was committed to fixing the lines, but operational jobs, including train driving, would be affected in the meantime.

Mr Moyle said he was uncertain how many jobs were affected.

He said KiwiRail wanted to retain as many employees as possible within the company.

"They're looking at redeployment options, how they can assist with the reinstatement of the track up in that area, redeployment to other parts of the business where there are current vacancies. And there may be some that want to explore opportunities outside of KiwiRail, and if that is the case, we will have discussions with them."

Mr Moyle said it could take until mid-2017 to fix the lines.