KiwiRail has temporarily suspended a Northland route while still looking at the possibility of mothballing the Northland to Auckland line - four years after announcing a review of the line.

The government entity this week confirmed the discontinuation of the Dargaville line since a train derailed on the route in July due to a broken rail.

That route has also come under a cloud as KiwiRail has had only one customer using the line for the past 10 years.

Spokeswoman Jenni Austin said a full assessment which took into account the movement of relatively low volumes and the poor condition of the line that required significant investment over coming years had been undertaken since the derailment.


The locomotive had remained upright and wasn't damaged and the driver wasn't hurt. Ms Austin said the company lost most of the traffic on the line when the port was moved out to Marsden Pt.

"We only run a train down the line in response to our customer requirements. In 2013/14, between one and two services ran a week. Volumes moved over recent years have typically been less than 40,000 tonnes per annum."

Kaipara District Council chairman of commissioners John Robertson said there would be no direct impact on Dargaville as a result of the suspension by KiwiRail.

"Some logs that were brought to Dargaville by trucks are carted to the port by rail. Now those logs are all taken to the port by trucks so it's just a change in the way logs are transported."

With regards to services between Auckland and Whangarei, Ms Austin said two return services most weekdays and some local ones were still operating while the line was still under review.

The possibility of the rail line between Northland and Auckland being mothballed first emerged in 2010 when KiwiRail announced it was reviewing the link.

KiwiRail said that as part of its $4.6 billion "turnaround plan" it was considering mothballing four under-used railway lines, including the link between Auckland and Moerewa.

The spokeswoman for Save Our Rail Northland, Vivienne Shepherd, accused the Government of relying on fossil fuel rather than implementing sensible and practical solutions.

"They can't envision changing the economy to other forms of energy," she said.