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Palmerston North train unlocks possibility for ‘super’ freight service to Christchurch
Dedicated overnight rail freight services are being introduced between Auckland and Palmerston North in September.
These new services are expected to play a critical part in the plan to increase KiwiRail's share of the domestic freight business over the length of the country.
Their introduction will enable the development of a "super" service from Auckland to Christchurch and free up capacity on other premier freight services heading down the North Island Main Trunk to Wellington, Christchurch and beyond, says KiwiRail Freight General Manager Iain Hill.
"By introducing this new service offering we are able to better streamline all our premier services, making them more destination-specific. In particular it gives us the opportunity to run a pure Auckland to Christchurch service, specifically tailored to the 'just in time' market."
The introduction of the new services has been made possible by improvements to the business over the past 12 months.
'The new locomotives and wagons, and the lengthened Aratere have unlocked previous bottle necks on the network and we now have the capacity and the capability to do this, "he says.
"In the short term it means we are well set up for the peak season this year. And in the medium term it means we will be in a strong position once the rebuild of Christchurch gathers momentum and economic recovery begins."
At present volumes destined for Palmerston North, the key distribution hub for the lower North Island, are carried on a number of services which continue to Wellington and Christchurch.
The introduction of the new Palmerston North service, will enable one of the other services to be set up as a 32-wagon Auckland to Christchurch service, leaving Auckland at 10.00 pm, arriving in Wellington in time for a critical Aratere sailing, and then arriving in Christchurch early on day two.
Palmerston North is an increasingly important distribution hub for the lower North Island. The south-bound service service, which will consist of around 30 wagons departs Auckland at 18.10PM and is scheduled to arrive at 06.15AM in Palmerston North.