Where Earthmovers Go to Grow

Arrow-white Customer Profile: Action Civil


Aug 11, 2021

| |
9 mins read

The New Zealand Government has recently announced that there will be a $1.3 Billion investment into infrastructure based around rail developments nationwide. Action Civil is one of the civil contractors at the forefront of these developments which will allow more efficient logistics and heightened safety in the Wellington rail yards.

Action Civil started out in the early ‘90s focussing mainly on drainage and have built the business up to become specialists in the field. In late 2010 the Wellington city council had a WARP contract out for tender, and Action Civil owner David Murtagh decided to “give it a crack” working alongside Hawkins they were awarded the contract. After hastily completing the work, Kiwirail and the city council expressed their satisfaction with the work, and Action Civil was shortly thereafter approached directly by Kiwirail with more job offers. Fast forward 10 years and Action Civil have established themselves as the go-to contractors for rail drainage modifications in the Wellington and Wairarapa regions.

Infrastructure Developments

They have recently been contracted by Kiwirail for the Wellington and Picton rail yard modifications which are happening for a number of reasons. With the recent investment from the Government, KiwiRail has huge plans around modifying the current Cook Strait ferry crossings.

“The project involves new infrastructure including terminals, linkspans, and marshalling yards which will create numerous Kiwi jobs in Picton and Wellington.”


KiwiRail who own the Interislander Ferries, will be purchasing new ships for the crossing, building new terminals for loading, and developing rail and marshalling yards to cope with the increased demand for logistics and transport between the north and south islands. Action Civil is currently playing a key part in this project by undertaking major works with the logistics and rail yards that will be used in this project. With increased size and capacity the new Interislander ships will require much more rail infrastructure to load the ships up.


Ben Jones, an Operations Manager and Operator for Action Civil described the issues with the current rail yards on the Wellington side. “They’re currently getting quite a bit of flooding in here with the high water table being close to sean and the little valley that these yards are in… It causes issues with rotting ballast and sleepers which can warp the rails.” Part of the safety and layout improvements for the Wellington side includes digging up some of the current existing rails, spacing out of them, and installing ballast and drainage underneath the replaced lines to allow for better water removal. Improving the safety features of this active railyard doesn’t come without hazards of its own. The rail yard is busy and has to stay busy, as it is the main hub for transporting freight via the Interislander between islands and to the majority of the Wellington port. If the rail yard stops, so do logistics in the wider region, and this cant happen. This means that while operating an excavator, trucks, and worksite, the team from Action Civil have to constantly be alert working in close proximity to an active freight and railyard. Managing these risks as well as completing the work illustrate how Action Civil is skilled outside of just operating machinery and shows why Kiwirail keeps contracting to them. They are professional, safety-conscious contractors with punctuality and efficiency.

Time Pressure

David expressed, “time is our biggest challenge.” For contractors like Action Civil, time is of the essence and is one of the most important considerations when taking on work. 

“Anything to do with civil contracting in Wellington is mayhem right now… If you are not busy, you’re doing something wrong.”


Being as busy as they are, Action Civil has to be able to efficiently deal with multiple contracts at the same time, and complete them in a timely manner. Pressure is often put on contractors like Action Civil because they have to leave time for changes on the other end of the project, “There’s always changes to projects so the more time we can give Kiwi Rail after we finish up the better.” Something that is just part of civil contracting is being ready to deal with changes, its extremely common to see changes to engineering plans occur mid-way through a project, which is why Action Civil aims for efficiency. Finishing the allotted work quickly allows for changes to happen without pushing the project end dates out too much. “It’s pretty straightforward once you get into it but it’s tricky to become efficient.” 

Smart Business

David makes decisions within his business that he believes will contribute to time efficiency. He chooses equipment suppliers based on a few things, firstly the product must be fit for purpose, secondly, the supplier must be time efficient in delivering the product, and lastly, the supplier has to provide rapid support. These reasons are why David choose to use Attach2 for their excavation attachments.


“The rotating hitch definitely has its merits, it’s a handy tool for working in and around other services, and there are some tricky angles we have to reach with the rails... The hitches get a pretty good workout with what we do there are heaps of bucket changes every day.”

David and his team needed a solution that would allow his team to quickly change attachments because in their line of work there is a need for changing buckets often. Drain holes can range in size and therefore may require different tools. The Heli-Tilt allows them to do this without getting out of the excavator and having to manually make bucket changes. This ability coupled with the angles the Heli-Tilt can achieve make it the perfect time-saving tool for civil contractors who may have limited space, need to swap out buckets often, or don’t want to have to shift the digger every time they want to achieve a different angle. After changing up tools and moving to equip his excavators with Attach2 products David and his team realised the savings they could achieve with their new tools.


“We used to use a few different types of hitches, there was a tilt bucket with all the hoses and that, just nah… its just too inefficient, well never go back that way again.”

When David was asked what he and his team thought about using Attach2’s equipment, he stated, “Its fit for its purpose… Everyone seems more than happy, I haven’t had any negative comments, and the only issue was with an older worn out hitch, but it got sorted out pretty quickly and it was all good after that.” David has been more than happy with the service he received both before and after purchasing his equipment. “We have quite a few Attach2 products and have really only had one issue with the earlier a2 locks, we called up and one of the team popped out to fix it and had us up and running pretty quickly.” Downtime can be costly for contractors under the pump like David, but he is confident that if anything were to go wrong, he will get the support he needs.

“We’ve had a good relationship with Attach2… It’s all good gear that we get. And to date, it’s been great and may it carry on!”


Customer Profiles Couplers

Tristan became an Attach2 team member in mid-2021, when he was picked up for content creation, photography, and filmmaking. Being behind a camera and visual story telling are his passions, so you can often catch him carrying around the rig of doom, hunting down team members and customers for interviews, or out in the field recording the world around him.

Related Post

Customer Profile: Wairarapa Shelter Trimming

Giving it a Crack”

Just “giving it a crack” was the beginning of a 35-year business endeavour which all started with Dave Ryan’s..

Read More

Customer Profile: GBC Ltd

Known in short as GBC, Graeme Bagrie Contracts has what many would consider a traditional 'grass roots' origin.

It started with..

Read More