15 Sep 2017

First train since quake rolls into Kaikōura

2:08 pm on 15 September 2017

The first train on the Picton to Christchurch line since November's 7.8 earthquake has passed through Kaikōura.

The line re-opened today for limited freight train services, and the train left Picton early this morning and stopped in Kaikōura about 8am.

About 200 locals and railway workers cheered as it rolled into the town.

For Kaikōura resident Bev Bradley it was a special day.

"I was here as a five-year-old when the railway was first opened, so I had to come for the second," she said.

The first train on the Picton to Christchurch since November's 7.8 earthquake arrives in Kaikōura, Friday 15 September 2017.

The freight train arrives in Kaikōura this morning. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said having freight services up and running again on the Main North Line was a significant milestone in the quake recovery.

For now, the service will be limited to night times, to allow repairs on the line to continue, as well as the rebuilding of State Highway 1.

KiwiRail expected about 2000 fewer trucks a month on the road as a result of the train service resuming.

Crowd gathers for first train since quake Friday 15 Sept.

The crowd of about 200 locals and railway workers listened to speeches before the train arrived. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

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