Loading logs on to railway carriages at Whanganui's Taupo Quay rather than Eastown is a "pie in the sky"idea that will never happen.

That's the view of Log Loaders owner Ian Harrex.

The change is being investigated by Whanganui District Council because of costly damage to roads by logging trucks, with Rangitikei Street residents complaining of vibrations from the trucks' movements.

Council infrastructure manager Mark Hughes told councillors last week that KiwiRail had been asked to consider the possible change in location for the logging hub, and the rail operator had been receptive.


For the past two-and-a-half years a train pulling 24 wagons of logs has left the Eastown rail yard every day, Monday to Friday.

If KiwiRail opens up its Taupo Quay yards to logging companies, it would relieve the pressure on roads leading to the Eastown rail yards.

Logging activity has increased and is set to ramp up further from next year onwards with 15 years worth of forests coming on stream for harvesting in what council has described as a "wall of wood".

The damage to the district's roads from the logging trucks means the council faces a shortfall over the next 10 years in its roading budget - possibly as much as $60 million.

Logs from Forest Owner Marketing Services are loaded by Mr Harrex's Log Loaders company; logs from John Turkington Ltd (JTL) are loaded by McCarthy Transport.

Mr Harrex said the idea of moving the operation to Taupo Quay was nonsense.

There was already nearly $500,000-worth of infrastructure, including weighbridges, at Eastown that would have to be duplicated.

The logs would be moved the same distance but KiwiRail would charge an extra $5 a tonne to take them from Taupo Quay, and there would be more trucks on city streets.


He didn't think there would be room for the operation at Taupo Quay - the trains need a length of 400 metres.

And he said the houses of Rangitikei St residents were already shaken by trains going by at 70km/h.

But Steve McDougall, the chief executive of McCarthy's, the other log loading operation at Eastown, said the move to Taupo Quay had some merit.

He was not sure whether there would be enough space, but said the Taupo Quay area was zoned commercial and there would be fewer restrictions. At Eastown logs can only be loaded between 7am and 5pm.

"The benefit of Taupo Quay is we are not going past a residential area. Taupo Quay is commercial and that means we have fewer restrictions."

Logging trucks could get there from State Highway 3 and State Highway 4 without using other streets, and it might be possible for them to use the weighbridge at Bullocks' nearby timber and concrete business.