03 May 2018
‘Inspiring’ earthquake recovery project wins Australasian award
KiwiRail and the wider team responsible for the reopening of the rail line between Blenheim and Christchurch just nine
months after the Kaikoura earthquake, have won a prestigious Australasian rail award.
The Main North Line Earthquake recovery project was last night announced winner of the Rail Technical Society of
Australasia’s Biennial Project Award for its work reinstating the line following the 7.8 November 2016 quake.
The judging panel described the project as an ‘inspiring example of how railway people respond energetically and
successfully to the most severe challenges”. They also noted that the line was opened for freight trains three months
ahead of schedule, reconnecting communities and taking heavy trucks off vulnerable inland routes while work on State
Highway 1 continued.
KiwiRail’s Earthquake Recovery project director Walter Rushbrook, who was in Sydney last night to receive the award,
says the win is recognition of the determination and dedication of all those involved.
“We are enormously proud to be recognised by the Australasian rail profession for the tremendous work that was done.
“This is the result of an outstanding team effort by our KiwiRail team, our project partners the New Zealand Transport
Agency and the NCTIR Alliance, central and local government and the local community, who were incredibly supportive and
patient while the work was carried out.
“As we head into the second winter since the earthquake, the award will be just the boost we need to finish off the
remaining recovery works on both road and rail.
“The earthquake recovery project was the fastest paced and largest job any of us were ever involved with, with more than
1700 people involved at the peak. Not only did we ‘move mountains to reconnect communities’ but we managed to get the
rail line operating again three months ahead of schedule.”
The RTSA is a joint technical society of Engineers Australia and Engineering New Zealand (formerly IPENZ), established
to further the interests of the railway industry and advancement of railway technology and management in Australasia.