To kick off the year, we’ve been working nightshift at an iconic location - the Otira Tunnel. This is a railway tunnel on the Midland Line, between Otira and Arthur’s Pass. It runs under the Southern Alps from Arthur's Pass to Otira - a length of over 8.5 kilometres (the longest in the South Island and the second longest in NZ). The tunnel celebrated its 100 years of service in 2023 and is a key asset for KiwiRail.

Our work is focused on the existing drainage system, which runs the full 8.5km length. The drainage channel is being cleaned of all ballast and debris by an airvac supplied by Alliance Services, which sits atop a rail-adapted carriage. Once cleaned, the channel is inspected by an Isaac Project Manager, Engineer, and Drainage Supervisor for any repairs needed. If repairs are required, these are carried out as part of a separate operation.

As of the end of January, we have completed a total of 1570 metres of stormwater channel cleaning over 7 shifts, equating to about 16% of the overall length.