Rail from Picton to Christchurch

Watch this video to see the damage to the railway line near Kaikoura.

After the 7.8 November earthquake in Kaikoura, the road and rail were very badly damaged. Railway lines were twisted, some (lines) were pushed into the sea, cliffs fell on top of lines, bridges and tunnels were destroyed. With both road and rail closed, access was difficult for workers, machinery and materials needed for the repairs. Meanwhile, the weather this winter has been extremely cold, wet and unpleasant. NZ Rail said it would be at least Christmas 2017 before the rail would operate again.

However, progress on repairing the rail line has been faster than expected. A large number of workers have put in 150,000 person hours each month to fix the 150km section which was closed, Yesterday, August 9th, the last weld of the lines was celebrated by dozens of workers who were watching this final action. Freight trains will now be able to operate. These trains will carry heavy machinery and materials so that workers can repair the road. The trains will also carry freight from the North Island which, so far this year, has been taken by truck on the long inland road over the Lewis Pass to Christchurch.

Kaikoura locals will be anxious for the road from Picton to Christchurch to open as soon as possible, Local businesses rely on tourists for their income. Whale watching is the main tourist attraction in Kaikoura.

You can listen to more on Kaikoura if you type Kaikoura in the search box.


• cliff – the side of a hill
• access – some way to get to a place
• weld – using heat to join metal
• freight – goods
• rely on – depend on

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