A date for the reopening of the Hawke's Bay-Gisborne railway line between Napier and Wairoa is still to be set, although repairs at the site of a washout in Northern Hawke's Bay are close to finished.

The line was closed by KiwiRail in late 2012 after a washout on the Wairoa-Gisborne sector and was to have reopened late last year to meet logging industry demand for railway transport to Napier Port.

But those plans were derailed by another washout last September, on the southern approaches to the Mangaturanga viaduct, north of Raupunga.

The latest washout left 45 metres of track swinging in the air, but in December KiwiRail acting chief operating officer Henare Clarke confirmed the line would reopen and it was hoped the new work would be completed in April.


This week he told Hawke's Bay Today the embankment to support the track has been "reinstated", the track is currently being replaced, there are still some minor works to complete, and work is expected to be completed "in the coming weeks".

"Work trains are expected to be able to travel through Raupanga from this week," he said.

"This will allow them to access the northern section of the line, where other work towards the line's reopening is continuing. A reopening date has not yet been finalised."

The Napier-Wairoa line, which includes the Mohaka Viaduct, just south of Raupunga and the highest railway viaduct in Australasia, was first opened in 1937, after a long-running, off-and-on project severely hit by the impacts of the Hawke's Bay Earthquake in 1931 and the Depression.

But it was soon closed again by severe flooding and was not reopened until late 1939.