Soldiers sent to stop looting of train trapped by quake

6:28 pm on 17 December 2016

A resident trapped between slips north of Kaikōura is welcoming efforts to deter people looting a freight train that had to be abandoned after the recent big quake.

A train is trapped between slips on SH1 after Monday's earthquake.

A train trapped between slips on SH1 after November's earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Tim Graham

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in the early hours of 14 November ripped up rail lines along the Kaikōura coast and brought down huge slips across them.

A train with 40 wagons has been trapped since the earthquake, and soldiers have been sent to its location to guard the train and prevent any further looting.

Kiwirail would not reveal what products were on the train.

Rakautara resident Ngaio Te Ua said the train had been a magnet for thieves, at a time when cut-off communities such as hers were already feeling vulnerable.

"We would have liked for the whole place to have security on it and only let people who live here come in. There are still quite a few houses down the other end from where we are, and we don't know who goes into those places. We can't be there 24/7 to protect those houses."

Kiwirail has said it could take until mid-2017 to fix the rail lines.

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