The last log train between Kauri and Otiria will have its final run this morning.

Operator KiwiRail said although the train trip would be the last, the line was not closed and would be used again once it became commercially viable.

The only customer north of Kauri, the woodchip company Marusumi, was informed its contract would not be renewed after August because of poor commercial returns and "life-expired wagons".

Currently two trains use the northern part of the line each day and from tomorrow Marusumi's logs will be hauled to its Portland mill by road.


TrackSAFE NZ manager Megan Drayton has reminded the public the only safe place to cross the rail tracks was at a level crossing and that it was illegal to access the rail corridor without a valid permit.

KiwiRail vehicles would use the rail track to carry out routine maintenance, she said.

The last service is due to leave Whangarei at 5am today and is expected to leave Otiria by 10.30am on its return journey.

Currently the North Auckland rail line starts in Auckland and passes through Helensville and Whangarei to the dairy plant at Kauri, ending at a log loading yard at Otiria, near Moerewa.

Grow Northland Rail said as a province, Northland should look at building road-rail hubs similar to what was happening elsewhere around the country.

Spokesman Alby Barr referred to the recently opened Waingawa road-rail hub in the Wairarapa which he said meant more than 700 tonnes of logs would be hauled to Wellington daily by rail instead of grinding their way on roads.

"Last week's log falling off a truck through (Tikipunga) and narrowly missing a car really highlights the danger, and with hundreds of extra log trucks per week estimated after (today's) log train axing that danger is set to increase."

Northland Regional Council transport committee chairman John Bain said while it was ideal for all rail lines in the region to be open, people had to be realistic of the costs involved.


He questioned whether it made sense for taxpayers' money to be invested to keep rail link north of Kauri operational for the benefit of a profitable company. The Dargaville branch line closed in October last year.