New Zealand state-owned enterprise KiwiRail has restarted log trains operations on the rail line between Wairoa and Napier Port.

It reinstated the service on 26 January following the completion of construction of the log yard in Wairoa.

This marked the first rail operations on the line after eight years. KiwiRail mothballed the 115km-long rail line in December 2012 following extensive damages caused by storms.

In June, KiwiRail completed the rehabilitation of the Napier-Wairoa rail line.

KiwiRail chief operating officer Todd Moyle said: “Each train could take up to 50 long-distance truck hauls off the road between Napier and Wairoa, with 66% fewer emissions per tonne of freight carried by rail compared to trucks.

“Log export forecasts, however, show a wall of wood will be ready for export within 18 months, and the volume of logs harvested will continue to grow over the coming years, so there is plenty of room for the services to grow.”

KiwiRail rehabilitated the Napier-Wairoa rail line with an investment of NZD6.2m ($4.03m) through the Provincial Growth Fund.

Moyle said that residents of the area must obey level crossings as trains can travel in either direction at any time.

Last month, KiwiRail announced that the rail line from Trentham to Upper Hutt will be double-tracked as part of its programme to upgrade the Wellington network.

In September, the Government of New Zealand unveiled plans to invest NZD94.8m ($60.9m) to upgrade the North Auckland Line between Swanson and Whangarei in Northland.