Rail freight services to be extended to Castlecliff - 19/04/2011
Wanganui industry will benefit from an extended rail freight service to Castlecliff with work to reinstate the railway line starting this week.
Council and KiwiRail are working together to ensure that the rail line along Taupo Quay/Heads Road, from Cobham Bridge to the Open Country Dairy site in Castlecliff, will be operational for freight trains to run from May 1.
“This is great news for Wanganui and will enable dairy products to be freighted by rail and ease some congestion on the roads,” says Mayor Annette Main.
“The railway line was closed 8 years ago and since that time there has been an increase in heavy traffic and road congestion along Heads Road and Taupo Quay. Although there are no other changes planned to KiwiRail facilities in the Wanganui area at this stage, this is a positive step forward. We will certainly welcome any further development of rail freight services to our industrial area.”
Work is underway by Wanganui District Council staff to trim, and in some areas remove, trees and shrubs to ensure safety at car and pedestrian crossings along the 4km of reinstated track.
Small trees are likely to be removed from a stretch of track from Cobham Bridge along the Pitzac boundary to give pedestrians using the crossing clear visibility. A Norfolk Island hibiscus will be removed at the Bedford Avenue/Heads Road intersection.
“The majority of work will involve trimming back trees to maximise sight-lines to ensure that people will be able to safely cross the tracks, as well as tar sealing many of the crossings which are currently shellrock,” says Mayor Main. “This will make them smooth and more accessible for mobility scooter users and prams.”
“Whilst the reinstatement of this section of rail is great news it’s really important that people remember to act in the correct manner at rail crossings and not forget that trains will now be running on a regular basis. This will not just be along Taupo Quay and Heads Road, but also on the line from Aramoho which runs through the top part of Victoria Avenue.”
The Heads Road level crossing near Imlay Place and Prince Street will have a flashing lights and bell system installed by the end of 2012. The Purnell Street level crossing on the main Wanganui line is also likely to be upgraded to half-arm barriers by March 2012 because of the increase in train traffic.
The crossings on Bedford Avenue and Balgownie Avenue are expected to have light traffic use. The Bedford Avenue crossing will be protected with a “Stop” plus a “Railway Crossing” sign on both sides of the crossing. Balgownie Avenue will have “Give Way” and “Railway Crossing” signs on both sides of the railway.
Initial plans are to run four trains daily on weekdays, which will then increase to seven days a week with additional services as demand requires.