The first freight train to travel on the main north line since the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016, has successfully completed its journey to Christchurch.
The rebuild of the train line is the largest rebuild of rail since WWII.
KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says that before the earthquake, KiwiRail was carrying one million tonnes of freight on the line for customers per year.
After the quake, freight has had to be moved south by road, which has put pressure on the inland route.
“It’s meant additional costs for freight forwarding companies and it hasn’t been easy for truck drivers,” Mr Reidy said.
Each tonne of freight carried by rail also represents 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions than when carried by road.
Work will continue on the line so that passenger trains will be able to resume. This is expected in about the middle of next year.