Fire crews win battle over Ward blaze

A blaze believed to be caused by a train carriage derailment is out.

Fire crews tackled a blaze alongside SH1, thought to be caused by a train carriage derailment this afternoon.

Two crews from Ward and crews from Seddon and Rarangi battled a fire between Ward and the Ure River, three kilometres south of Ward.

Spanning 20 metres in length, the fire is believed to be connected to an incident involving a KiwiRail Ltd freight train.

There is no threat to road traffic, but trains have been stopped as a precaution.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman says a train had caused the damage.

“It’s been caused by the train somehow. There are reports of damage to sleepers, like something was dragged along,” he says.

A helicopter has been called in to tackle a blaze which crews cannot get to by road.

The derailment of a KiwiRail carriage was reported to emergency services at about 2.15pm.

“A wagon on a freight service travelling north on the Main North Line partially derailed near Taimate this afternoon,” a KiwiRail spokeswoman says.

“KiwiRail is investigating the cause of the derailment, and its possible link to two fires beside the tracks,” she says.

There were no injuries and the wagon remains upright on the tracks, the spokeswoman says.

Rail services have been suspended while investigations are underway.