Services are set to resume on the railway line between Picton and Christchurch for the first time since the devastating Kaikoura earthquake struck 10 months ago.
KiwiRail CEO Peter Reidy said the occasion will be marked with celebrations as crucial freight services begin to return to the line.
Initially only a restricted number of services will run but even that – according to Mr Reidy – will take up to 2,000 trucks off the road a month.
The first service on the Picton – Christchurch line will run on September 15 during the day, but afterwards, limited, low-frequency services will run at night so that further vital work to repair the line can be made.
Mr Reidy added: “Getting freight rolling again on the quake-damaged line is a great result that has been made possible by world-class engineers and a team of New Zealanders from all over the country, working for KiwiRail and our partners in the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance.
“There is still a sizeable amount of work to be done before we return the line to its pre-quake state.”
Before the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake, KiwiRail was moving one million tonnes of freight a year on the line.