Marton Rail Hub
The Marton Rail Hub project was announced in April 2020 as a partnership between Rangitīkei District Council, Te Rūnanga O Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa, Infrastructure Reference Group and Rangitīkei Forestry Holdings.
The rail hub, which is set to be based on the outskirts of Marton, will set up Rangitīkei and neighbouring districts as a key logistical hub for the forestry industry across the Lower North Island. It will include a debarker facility, and attract further forestry businesses to the site.
The project will benefit the community, economy, the forestry sector and iwi, providing job opportunities during construction and when operational, as well as give a boost to the region’s economy and the opportunity to diversify the district’s business landscape.
The Marton Rail Hub will also allow more logging trucks to come off the roads and on to rail, benefiting local forestry owners with a reduction in road transportation costs, and improving safety for road users.
The project is supported by a $9.1 million Government investment administered by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU). This investment forms part of the $3 billion infrastructure portion set aside in the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Funds from Rangitīkei Forestry Holdings and Rangitīkei District Council will also be used to support the project.
The land proposed to accommodate the Marton Rail Hub underwent a district plan change in 2020 to rezone the land from rural to industrial. The zone change has been appealed to the Environment Court, and Council is working with the appellants and associated parties to understand and mitigate their concerns.
Council is working closely with partners on the project, including iwi and hapū to ensure the project upholds the principles and articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and honours the cultural and historical significance of the whenua.
You can find updates about the Marton Rail Hub on this page as the project progresses.
For more information contact the Senior Project Manager: Mark Barnes
A decision was made by the Environment Court to dismiss an appeal against Rangitīkei District Council around a proposed change to the District Plan. This change would see around 65ha of land on the southern boundary of Marton rezoned from Rural to Industrial, enabling development of the Marton Rail Hub.
"We are delighted with the ruling, and our legal team is currently reviewing the decision to understand what this means for us and for our stakeholders. While there is some work to do to finalise provisions following the Environment Court's decision, the decision is a significant and welcome step towards bringing the Marton Rail Hub project to life. We will continue to update the community over the coming weeks" - Mayor Andy Watson
The required District Plan change, which proposes to rezone 65Ha of land from rural to industrial use, has been appealed to the Environment Court of New Zealand. Rangitīkei District Council is currently working with the appellants and associated parties to understand and mitigate their concerns.
Economic Evaluation Report - The aim of the report is to develop an understanding of the potential economic effects of the Rail Hub on the local economy.
Acoustic Bat Survey and Habitat Assessment - The purpose of this report is to provide the results from further field surveys that were undertaken to determine relative activity levels and habitat values for roosting long-tailed bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus).
The purpose of this Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) Framework report is to facilitate establishment of the Marton Rail Hub.
Rail Hub Comprehensive Development Plan Shared - 16 November 2021
Surveying begins for Marton Rail Hub - 23 September 2021
Marton Rail Hub project makes progress - 5 August 2021
Marton Rail Hub on track as planning gets under way - 19 February 2021
Frequent Asked Questions
The land proposed to accommodate the Marton Rail Hub underwent a district plan change in 2020 to rezone the land from rural to industrial. This was appealed to the Environment Court.
After consideration the Court dismissed the appeal against the proposed plan change in its decision dated 27 April 2023. However, the Council disagreed with certain aspects of this decision which relate to specific provisions of the district plan. The Council has therefore lodged an appeal to the High Court to have these aspects of the decision reconsidered.
The development of the Marton Rail Hub was announced in April 2020 as a partnership between Rangitīkei District Council, Te Rūnanga O Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa, the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group and Rangitīkei Forestry Holdings.
The rail hub, which is set to be based on the outskirts of Marton, will set up the Rangitīkei district as a key logistical hub for the forestry industry across the Lower North Island, allowing handling and transportation of logs by rail to North Island ports. The site will include a de-barking facility and offer space to other relevant industrial businesses.
The land proposed to accommodate the Marton Rail Hub lies to the north of and is parallel to, Makirikiri Road. It is bounded by the main rail trunk line to the west and State Highway 1 to the east.
Access to the development is proposed to be off Makirikiri Road.
Marton is central to significant forests in the Rangitīkei, Manawatū and Horowhenua districts that are mature and will continue to produce mature trees and increased volumes for the next 15 years.
With State Highways 1 and 3 operating as main arterial routes through the district and the proximity to the national rail trunk lines, Marton is well placed to locate a commercial business hub where logs and other materials can access the national rail network for onward transport throughout New Zealand, including the North Island ports for export.
Moving logs and materials by rail rather than road will realise significant environmental, safety and economic benefits, both within the district and nationally.
Marton was built as the rail junction in the North Island to service our agricultural sector; the new rail hub gives the Rangitīkei district the opportunity to start growing again. The idea of the rail hub has been more than three years in the making and the Government has recognised the opportunity this brings to the district. Not only does this recognise the importance of funding key infrastructure in small regional towns, but it will also provide jobs in our local community.
Rangitīkei District Council has estimated that this build, which will include a de-barker facility, will create up to 83 jobs during its construction. When it’s up and running it will enable more efficient log transportation in the lower North Island, as well as create at least 22 full-time jobs.
This rail hub will also attract more commercial developments to the immediate area, thereby creating additional economic benefits and jobs.
The project is supported by a $9.1 million Government investment administered by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU). This investment forms part of the $3 billion infrastructure portion set aside in the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund distributed nationally.
Additional funding sources are being sought to fully fund the development to fully realise the environmental, safety and economic benefits.
Before any further planning can begin, the High Court appeal process must be completed, and the zone change from rural to industrial use confirmed.
Following the conclusion of the appeal process the finalised provisions will need to be reflected in the design. This along with securing the necessary additional funding are key to establishing when the construction could start and when the Marton Rail Hub becomes operational.
The impact of the Marton Rail Hub, both during construction and operationally, has been assessed as part of the Comprehensive Development Plan. These include such things as air quality, noise, lighting, and environmental and visual impacts. These reports can be found above in the appendices linked under 'Plans'.
Rangitīkei District Council is working in close partnership with Te Rūnanga O Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa throughout this project. The Council and all stakeholders are committed to honouring the iwi partnership and working collaboratively to enhance collective opportunities within the Rangitīkei district.