Saturday, 22 April 2017

Kaikoura Earthquake repair updates

I stopped posting the reports weekly as it was taking me a lot of time to pull all the bits out of them and illustrate, considering the information in them isn't always up to date and they tend to come out as much as a week after the stated date of publication.

The focus has all been on the highway with the well publicised closures of SH1 south of Kaikoura due to a big new slip between Puketa and Goose Bay. However there has been work on the Main North Line in particular at several overbridge sites at Parnassus, Waima and Oaro where a lot of repairs have been needed. Also the main line and loop are being relaid at Pines just south of Clarence where there is a big problem with an upthrust in the ground of four metres resulting in suddenly changed ground levels, this forced the track well off its normal alignment and has also affected the highway. The nearby Clarence River bridge which is quite a major structure needs significant work and the highway bridge was also affected. At Mangamaunu both the highway and the railway are being realigned around a major slip site, which I think means they are building new embankment and seawall probably. There are also five railway tunnels being repaired.

The aerial photos I have been making use of only cover a coastal strip (I had hoped they would include the inland highway route, unfortunately this is not the case) but Google Earth has updated its coverage for much of the area to cover the timeframe after the quakes, thus we can have a view of the whole route although their resolution is nowhere near as good. However the Linz photos do cover a stretch of SH1 between Hundalee and Oaro which is well separated from the railway line, this is really the only major route differentiation along nearly all of the Picton-Chch highway.

If you want to have a look at the Linz aerial photos yourself in a web browser this is pretty easy to do. Just go to the address below:
On the left side should be the description of the data layer -title is 

Kaikoura Earthquake 0.2m Aerial Photos (2016)

You can see near the top left an orange + sign. Just click that (it should then change into a red - sign) and the layer is loaded onto the map shown at the right. Then just drag, zoom, scroll etc that map until the section Parnassus-Ward comes into view and you should be able to see the aerial photos.

Friday, 21 April 2017

State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura still closed as slip clearing work continues

This is because of the big slip at Rosy Morn between Puketa and Goose Bay. 10,000 cubic metres is a lot, and it's nowhere near the biggest slip on the route. There is still a lot of problems with damage from the quakes all over SH1 between Claverley and Clarence and this really emphasises the fragility of the area and how much work is needed to fix it up.

More damage to challenged Napier-Gisborne Line

In the middle of this picture you can see a new washout about 30 metres long between Tunnels 16 and 17 on the Napier-Gisborne line in the Whareratas. This aerial image on Google Earth is dated 3/3/2016. Looking at other photos damage has occurred in other areas as well. 

Given how fragile this section is, it is highly likely the recent heavy rainfall events of a couple of cyclones have caused more damage. There is a whole lot of this area that has not got footage later than 2011 so we can't actually see anything from the past five or six years on GE. However there is more recent coverage for the HBRC side of the boundary from 2014-15 and this shows that the above washout has probably occurred between 2015-16.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Return flight: One of the last Bristol Freighters to leave for the UK

Dwens have had these aircraft (part of the 12 of the former RNZAF fleet) and parts on their books for a very long time. Several of them were operated as Hercules Airlines for a year or two in the mid 1980s just about the same time as Safe Air's operations were drawing to a close. New Zealand was one of the last countries where Bristol Freighters were operated, but just when we thought that they were completely finishing up in our little corner of the world, Trans Provincial Airways and Hawkair took a few over to British Columbia to service goldmining operations in the backblocks of northern Canada.

The Poms had a go at preserving one as an operational exhibit a few years ago but it crashed and was written off beyond repair in 1996. The last Bristol flying anywhere was one of the Canadian ones (ex NZ) which Hawkair mothballed in 2000 after one of their mining contracts finished. It was donated to a museum and flown there in 2004, the last flight of a Bristol Freighter in the world. Hawkair went into receivership soon after and the BF was seized by the receivers and auctioned to an American who was persuaded to donate it back to the museum.

The taxiable BF at Omaka is probably the only semi-operational example anywhere in the world but operations have been paused after one of the engines was found to have serious issues. A spare Hercules engine from Omaka has been refurbished for operational display using ex-Hawkair parts from Canada and there are a number of groups around the world running Bristol Hercules engines for display at shows as can be seen from the clips available on Youtube.

So for one to be going back to the UK for a museum will be an interesting completion of the circle.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Tirohanga Stream Bridge 129 / 252 km MNL

Photos of this bridge on the Kiwirail facebook page show the severe twisting it encountered in the quake. The embankment has also slumped noticeably at one end.

New Kingston Flyer owners mainly interested in land

So it would seem unlikely the train would be returning to operation any time soon.

However, even if the train is sold to some other outfit, there is still heritage protection for some of the structures at Kingston, like the turntable and water tower, so a historic railway precinct will remain in place in years to come.

NZTA Earthquake Repair Update 31/3/17 [1]

The big news overall this week has been the closures of the highways because of weather related events. A closure of SH1 south of Kaikoura late last month was necessary in order to remedy new slips that had come down at a number of sites between Goose Bay and Puketa, as I have mentioned before. Just as the highway has reopened again the tail end of the Cyclone Debbie storm has caused more damage and forced it closed as there have been big mud slides at some locations. SH70 inland from Waiau to Kaikoura has also been hit by the weather and is open with restrictions at the present time.

Now for the key repair works and sites for this week.

This is the first big slip north of Kaikoura, just past 205 km on the MNL, and known to NZTA as "Site 1A". You can see here where a temporary road was put around the slip by crossing over the railway line. What's going to be happening here from this week is a new alignment of the road and railway line past this slip.

This is Half Moon Bay at MNL 211 km, just north of KRN Tunnel 18. This was originally one of the smaller slip areas with an estimated removal volume of 5000 cubic metres. However, due to the recent weather conditions, 10,000 cubic metres of material is currently being removed from the slip faces and this work will continue for the next few weeks.

Site 3 removal works last week (NZTA photo)

Work continues at the massive slip at Site 6 - Ohau Point. This photo is from a Beehive press release of about two weeks ago. (The railway is in tunnel at this location)

Site 7 is just north of Ohau Point at 214 km. Work is underway sluicing and scaling the slips to get the material shifted. The estimated total volume is 20,000 cubic metres.

Site 8 is just to the south of KRN Tunnel 20 and 217 km. The estimated volume to be removed here is 41,000 cubic metres making it one of the larger slips being worked on, and work has been happening here this week too.

Just north of MNL 259 km is the Waima Overbridge, known to KRN as Bridge 132. 

NZTA has had excavators at work at Waima digging out the culvert that carries the railway lane under SH1 at this location so that the structure can be repaired. 

I'll need to make another post to complete this update so that should be ready tomorrow.