Freight trains to be operating 24/7

kiwirail expect trains

From 7 October 2018 daytime freight trains will be operating on the Main North Line track between Picton and Christchurch. Until now freight trains had only been running at night to allow repair work for the road and rail to continue during the day.

Expect trains at any time, from either direction. Daytime freight will make the rail line much busier and it’s important to think safety first around tracks. Make sure you look both ways before crossing and only do so when no trains are in sight. Read below for some tips around track safety for drivers and pedestrians.

Daily passenger train services – via the Coastal Pacific - will also be starting in early December.

Since September 2017, KiwiRail has moved more than 480,000 tonnes of freight on the Main North Line, which has meant at least 34,000 fewer trucks on the roads. Running trains again both day and night means KiwiRail will be better able to meet their customers’ needs as the busiest time for freight comes up.  


Staying safe around the tracks

Trains can come anytime, from either direction.


Take extreme care when driving over a railway level crossing.

Obey the warning signs and look carefully in both directions for trains. Listen, be aware, and pay careful attention to your surroundings. Always ensure there is space on the other side of the crossing for your vehicle.

When approaching a level crossing where lights and bells are operating, or barrier arms are lowered or have started to come down, you must:

  • Stop your car
  • Wait for the train to pass
  • Wait for the lights to stop flashing and the barrier arms to lift before entering the crossing.

At level crossings controlled by either 'Give Way' or 'Stop' signs, you must:

  • Slow down, and be prepared to stop
  • Look both ways up and down the tracks to check the railway lines are clear
  • If there is a 'Stop' sign, you must stop your vehicle completely.


Only cross at formed pedestrian crossings or an overpass or underpass.

Stop and look for trains both ways up and down the tracks.

Only cross if you are sure there are no trains in sight.

Obey the warning signs at the crossing - if lights are flashing or bells are ringing this means a train is approaching. 

Useful links

01 October 2018