Half-million dollar rail project at Waitati

Ontrack, a subsidiary of Kiwirail, had nearly 60 men working on a two-day maintenance project alongside Blueskin Bay on the weekend of 18-19 September.

Robert Storm, a field engineer for renewals at Ontrack, told 'Blueskin News' the sleeper laying project at Waitati was part of this year's programmed work and cost over $500,000.

"Preparatory work started about two weeks ago and all work is expected to be completed by mid October," Robert said. "We have now replaced all the sleepers in this section but we still need to complete ballast reconditioning and final track lifting and smoothing."

The job started at the track points at Waitati, where trains pass one another, and the main line was resleepered with new concrete sleepers for 2km towards Evansdale.

"Timber sleepers have a finite life and most of those in this area were worn out or had suffered damage following a derailment a couple of years ago," Robert explained.

"Once completed, this section of track should be maintenance-free for many years."

Hard work means hungry workers. Robert received many favourable comments on the hearty lunches supplied through a reputable Waitati eatery.

Ontrack are now planning to work on a 1.5km section of track just north of Seacliff over the last weekend of September.

By 'Blueskin News' reporter Rozalina MacLeod