New Zealand’s state-owned rail operator KiwiRail has completed the rehabilitation of the Napier-Wairoa rail line.

The 115km-long rail line was mothballed in December 2012 following extensive damages caused by storms.

Currently, final preparations are underway to resume train operations on the line. The line will support Wairoa’s forest industry, connecting it with key markets in the Napier region.

KiwiRail Group chief executive Greg Miller said: “With work on the line complete, our next focus is to establish a log-hub in Wairoa so we are ready to begin running trains once harvesting gets back into full swing at the end of winter.

“We know from our discussions with the forestry industry there is a need for our services.

“The amount of timber flowing from forests in the region is expected to quadruple in the next four years, and to get all those logs to market will require all transport networks working efficiently together.”

The Napier-Wairoa rail line was rehabilitated with NZD6.2m ($4.03m) of funding through the Provincial Growth Fund.

Miller added that the reopening of the line is expected to result in 5000 fewer truck journeys from Wairoa to Napier annually during the initial years.

Miller said: “Moving logs by rail takes pressure off the roads, and reduces greenhouse gases. The Wairoa-Napier road was never intended to cope with the volume of logs that is coming on stream, and rail is the ideal way to get that timber to overseas customers.”

Last month, the Government of New Zealand allocated $651m in the national budget to bolster railway infrastructure.

The funding will be made available over two years.