More than 1400 old timber railway sleepers will be replaced near Oamaru as part of KiwiRail’s infrastructure renewal programme.
KiwiRail senior communications advisor David Miller said the programme had been designed in order to build and operate a rail network for the future and the work being completed south of Oamaru through the Waiareka Cutting is hoped to improve the reliability and efficiency of one of the South Island’s main rail corridors.
“This work involves replacing around 1400 old timber sleepers that date back to the 1970s with new concrete ones on what is a steep section of the corridor.”
A front-end loader and transport truck was used to move the sleepers from the Oamaru rail yard to the site. An engineering team is using a 12-tonne hi-rail excavator to remove the fastenings from sections of the track before the old sleepers are slid out horizontally one by one and new ones placed back in the same location, he said.
This work has been done as to allow freight services to safely move through the site and the timber sleepers are graded for reuse on other lower use parts of the network including loops, yards and branch lines where required.
The upgrade work will cost around $300,000 and is due to be completed in March this year.