Fonterra hub will connect to port
Work has started at reopening the Putaruru Rail yard as part of Fonterra’s multi-million dollar expansion.
Kiwirail is working together with Fonterra to support the Lichfield upgrade.
Fonterra spokesperson Abby Watson said the rail yard will be used as a hub to connect the plant with the Port of Tauranga.
‘‘Moving product to and from Lichfield by rail will reduce the number of truck movements through Putaruru meaning less overall impact on the town.’’
The upgrade means an additional 100,000 tonnes of dairy products per year will be moved with little environmental impact, she said.
Kiwirail spokesperson Simon Kilroy said feedback was positive when a community meeting was held in March.
However a few concerns from locals were raised about the impact noise and traffic congestion would have during shunting times.
Kilroy said plans are still being finalised and timetables will be linked to demand.
‘‘As a commercial entity we wish to increase the amount of freight carried by rail and thereby increase revenue.’’
Use of the yard will bring an additional train in and out of Putaruru and plans are subject to change based on Fonterra’s requirements.
‘‘Depending on the volume of goods Kiwirail is requested to move by Fonterra will vary on the season,’’ he said.
It is intended there will be a maximum of four shunts per day running between Putaruru and the Lichfield plant.
‘‘For safety there will be increased use of train horns and warning bells at crossings but we expect the noise impact to be minimal.
The reopening of the yard will include track upgrades, new security fencing, an upgrade of the lighting system and security cameras.
To meet Customs NZ requirements pedestrians will no longer be able to walk across the yard.
Watson said Fonterra is committed to working with the Putaruru community to ensure the change causes as little disruption as possible.
The project is expected to be finished by July.