Work will begin on the Napier to Wairoa rail line today, just days after the Government announced its funding through the Provincial Growth Fund for the project.

"Contractors will start cutting back vegetation at Eskdale and will be working north over coming weeks," KiwiRail spokesman Henare Clarke said.

He said a fortnight after that work on the line's drains and culverts would begin, with the
first log train expected to run on the line by the end of the year.

The re-opening of the line was announced on Friday. KiwiRail has been working with Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Napier Port to re-open the line.

The Government has allocated $5 million to the project, which is expected to take two years to fully complete.

Clarke said this was a good time to remind people to expect trains or machinery travelling on the track at all times.

"It is six years since the line between Wairoa and Napier was in regular use, so people will need to take extra care around it now that work is underway."

Work would see an increase in movements along that track, and everyone needed to expect trains and other rail vehicles could be using the line at any time from either direction.

"They should only cross the line at level crossings – to cross the line anywhere else is both dangerous and illegal," Clarke said.

Following Friday's announcement, KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said it was good news for the region and good news for New Zealand.

"It's a vote of confidence in our customers and our staff.

"KiwiRail is committed to enabling sustainable and inclusive economic growth and the Government's investment in promoting rail in the regions will enable us to step up that work.

"Moving logs by rail takes pressure off the roads, and reduces greenhouse gases.

"The Wairoa-Napier road is not designed to cope with the growing volumes of logs now that the 'Wall of Wood" is coming on stream and rail is the ideal way of getting that timber to overseas customers.

"We have estimated that using the Wairoa-Napier line to move the logs could take up to 5714 trucks a year off the road, and reduce carbon emissions by 1292 tonnes," Reidy said.

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