Rail has played a vital role in developing New Zealand’s economy, with up to 18 million tonnes of freight moved via rail every year. But does it have a future?
The Minister of Transport estimates insurance will cover most of the $500 million cost KiwiRail faces to repair the earthquake damaged railway line from Picton to Christchurch.
The figures are enormous, but the government, KiwiRail and others believe repairing the entire rail and road corridor is vital to New Zealand’s economy.
At present heavily laden trucks are wearing out the alternative route: the ill-prepared road through Lewis Pass.
The quake damaged the railway line in about 750 places.
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