Midland Line reopens following Waitangi fire

The Midland Line between Christchurch and Greymouth in the South Island is reopening after it was damaged by fire.

The line opens to freight services on Monday, and the TranzAlpine passenger train resumes on Wednesday.

The line was badly damaged by a fire during Waitangi weekend. Several rail bridges were damaged, including one where 12 wooden piles needed to be replaced.

The TranzAlpine service, which is popular with tourists, adds in excess of $15 million to the West Coast economy a year.

On Friday, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said work was on track to fully restore the road and rail network in the South Island damaged by the Kaikoura earthquake last year. Work should be completed by the end of the year.

He said work started last week at Ohau Point, the site of one of the largest slips which came down in the November 14 earthquake.

"The slip at Ohau Point is one of the biggest and most complex of the 10 major slips north of Kaikoura," Mr Bridges says.

An estimated 110,000 cubic metres of rock and debris has to be cleared.

Construction access tracks have now been built around all of the slips to Ohau Point. Work will soon begin on rebuilding sections of the highway and railway line.