31 Jan 2011

Storm washes out Northland rail lines

12:16 pm on 31 January 2011

Rail lines in Northland may be closed into next week because of washouts and slips caused by Cyclone Wilma.

Kiwirail spokesperson Cathie Bell says the network has been affected by 20 washouts of ballast rock under the rail-lines and 12 slips.

The worst washout is at Puhipuhi where Ms Bell said the rail line is "sticking up into the air".

Ms Bell says the Wellsford to Kauri connection should be open Tuesday night, while the Dargaville branch line should be open by the end of the week.

However a northern section between Kauri and Otiria may not be cleared until next week.

The affected lines are used to carry dairy products and logs and are not used for passengers.

Ms Bell says the Hamilton to Gisborne line is also closed because of a washout near Matata, however the line is rarely used.