Rail tunnel cracked in two after quake

The view inside Tunnel 18, which was torn in two due to the November 14, 2016 earhtquake. PHOTO: NZTA

Repairs have started on a rail tunnel on the Kaikoura coast that was “effectively” cracked in two due to November 14, 2016 earthquake.

NZ Transport Agency has released a photo of the interior of Tunnel 18, one of the most iconic on the coast.

The Hope fault is only 70m from the tunnel’s northern portal, said a NZTA spokeswoman.

“Tunnel 18 suffered significant structural damage – it’s effectively been cracked in two,” she said.

The reverse upward movement across the fault sheared the tunnel’s concrete lining and put a kink in the tunnel’s floor, with half of the tunnel floor dropping by 50cm.

Four out of the damaged 20 rail tunnels on the line have now been repaired to the extent that work trains can pass through them, repairs are underway at a further eight tunnels, with the remainder to commence soon.

While the quake closed the coastal railway and highway, solid progress is being made towards re-opening them by the target date of December 2017.