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KiwiRail staff and contractors have been battling snow, hail, sleet and rain as they work to restore a section of rail line washed out at Ormondville.
The land under the rail track just north of the historic Ormondville viaduct began to subside early on Sunday morning as a result of four days of continual rain, a KiwiRail spokesperson told Hawke's Bay Today.
"A large slip, 30m by 20m, left the line hanging in mid-air and now 30 KiwiRail staff and contractors are working 24 hours a day to clear the debris and restore the line," the spokesperson said.
"Working in two shifts, they have cleared out all the slip material and now structural work is under way and going well, despite the unfavourable weather conditions."
The slip was detected early on Sunday and KiwiRail said that, with the continual rain, drivers were being vigilant.
Four freight trains a day normally used the line, moving general freight and export products between the Port of Napier and Palmerston North.
"Yesterday afternoon we ran a shunt down from Napier to Takapau with product for a client and we're keeping in touch with our customers," the spokesperson said.
"Once the line is repaired, we will clear the backlog with extra trains if required."
KiwiRail hoped to reopen the line later this week.
Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis said he was glad the washout was not on the same scale as the one that closed the Gisborne-Wairoa railway line.
"With just four freight trains - some carting logs from Woodville - using the line, the closure won't have an economic impact on Dannevirke," he said.
"I just hope the line is cleared soon."
A Norsewood resident travelling through Manawatu Gorge yesterday afternoon raised the alarm after she saw three men leaning over the railway line checking footings, she believed.
The KiwiRail spokesperson said that during the continual wet weather, the company had people inspecting many areas of the network. However, there were no reported concerns about the line through Manawatu Gorge.
This article first appeared on www.hawkesbaytoday.co.nz
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