It was a busy weekend for the crews working on the Norman Ave rail crossing repairs and upgrades. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

While most were out enjoying the long weekend, KiwiRail crew were busy carrying out rail repairs and safety improvements at the Norman Ave level crossing in Waingawa.

KiwiRail staff and contractors have been working on the site since Christmas to extend the Waingawa log yard rail siding and install new barrier arms.

Operations manager for the Lower North Island Paul Ashton said it had been “a very busy few days”, with more than 40 staff on site.

Over the weekend, crew installed two track turnouts which would enable freight trains to move between the main line and the rail siding at Waingawa log yard

“We needed to dig out the rail tracks through the crossing to do this.

“We required full access to the rail lines and needed to close the Norman Avenue level crossing to vehicles from 6am on Saturday morning to 6am [Tuesday morning],” Ashton said.

The line was also closed to commuter trains on Sunday and Monday, leading to bus replacements.

“During the three-day block of work, we have been preparing signalling equipment and repositioning the existing flashing lights and bells.

“This work is being done to prepare for the installation of half-arm barriers at the level crossing.”

He said installing the half arm barriers would improve safety.

A temporary detour over the rails was also put in place for road users.

“We know closing the level crossing has caused some inconvenience to road users and appreciate their patience while we complete the work.”

Ashton said work had not been hindered by the weather and they were still on track to complete the job by mid-February.

During these works, logging trucks are being diverted from the Waingawa yard to Masterton where the logs are loaded on to rail.