29 Feb 2016

Kiwirail tipped to scrap stretch of Northland rail

4:54 pm on 29 February 2016

There is alarm in Northland at suggestions Kiwirail is about to mothball a stretch of the northern line.

It's scrapping its contract with the Marusumi woodchip company, to rail logs from the Far North to Whangarei.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said there was no intention to close the Northland line.

But Northland MP Winston Peters said he had documents showing there would be no trains running north of Kauri, near Whangarei - after August.

And the Marusumi Woodchip company's comments confirm that.

At present the trains run as far north as Otiria near Kaikohe, to pick up logs for the company's chip mill in Portland south of Whangarei.

But Marusumi said Kiwirail had declined to renew the freight contract when it expired in August because the line was uneconomic.

Mr Peters said the rail company's neglected the line so badly it was no longer fit to run trains on and Simon Bridges should resign.