Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Project – Railway Recovery

The earthquakes that affected the Kaikoura region in November 2016 have resulted in many significant earth slips and rockfalls.

Date: 2017


Client: North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR)


Project Location: Christchurch and Kaikoura


Services Provided: Design Management, Value and Risk Management, Contract Administration

To protect the safety and resilience of railway operations, Kiwirail required the installation of systems to remotely monitor the stability and movement of slopes adjacent to rail lines, and to alert of impending rockfall which could jeopardise rail safety. TEAM Projects was engaged by NCTIR to research and implement appropriate monitoring systems.

These included:

  • Solar powered tripwire systems which are triggered by rockfall or impact, with direct connectivity to train control.
  • Remotely controlled CCTV cameras for observational purposes
  • Geotechnical instrumentation to measure ground movement
  • Seismic monitoring equipment to intercept and warn of impending earthquake activity
  • Crack measurement instrumentation to monitor structural movement of bridges and tunnels
  • Wireless sensors to monitor the three dimensional movement of slope faces

The railway was returned to an operational status in September 2017, only ten months after the earthquakes, the remote monitoring systems being a critical part of the railway network’s operational safety.

Lessons to be shared

The NCTIR alliance is a demonstration of true collaboration in practice. In bringing together consultants and contractors from numerous companies under the same NCTIR banner, the team has been able to progress massive road and rail repairs at an impressive speed.