Original Article : Gisborne Herald Monday March 30th 2015
IT was a small protest march on Saturday but there will be another hopefully bigger one in five to six weeks as the fight to save the Gisborne-Napier railway line continues.
About 50 people took to the street on Saturday morning with their placards and slogans in a spirited march along Grey Street to the railway station.
“This is more a memorial march for the loss of the rail and it comes at an appropriate time when negotiations on the future of the line are taking place,” said march organiser Ken Crispin.
“Gisborne District Council — what do we want ? . . . Save the rail!” he blasted out on the megaphone.
“Government — what do we want ? . . . Save the rail!
“KiwiRail — what do we want ? . . . Save the rail!”
Mr Crispin said while it was a small turnout, he was not disappointed.
“There will be another march in five or six weeks and we hope to get some MPs here for it.
“We only organised this one a week ago as a solemn statement of our sadness at the loss of the railway line.
“When we lost it we lost part of our life. The line is in our soul.”
Caz Denby was among those marching
“It’s history and it’s a practical thing to get produce in and out of Gisborne to free up the roads.”
Paul Corrin: “We can’t afford to lose it. It’s an important linkage to the rest of the country.”
Wayne Rickard: “The line should be categorised and given status under the Heritage Act because of its historical significance.”
Stuart Clark: “Gisborne needs the rail. If we don’t get it repaired we will lose it completely, and it’s not just about Gisborne to Napier. It benefits the whole country”.
Deborah Loew-Black from Switzerland was back in her home town on holiday, heard about the march and wanted to be part of it.
“I grew up with the railway line and it’s so important to get public transport going again on it.”
Nick Griffin: “As a young Gisborne person I see a need for the line for the future, especially with the uncertainty over oil availability and prices.
“It could also play such a big part in future cruise ship visits.”
Francis Raihania said he was there to support “future opportunities” for the area. “It gives businesses another viable option to get their goods out of the district.”
Train-spotter May Ruby was another to march and she summed it up for many when she said: “I’m missing the trains coming here. If it wasn’t for that hole (in the line), they would still be coming.”
Mayor Meng Foon has written to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson supporting the HBRC request for KiwiRail to provide time for the completion of the lease of the line to the HBRC. Ken Crispin said the HBRC/NGR(Napier-Gisborne Railway) group have a final report completed supporting their lease proposal.
“They are ready to submit it to KiwiRail and we encourage KiwiRail to do the right thing by the Gisborne-Hawke’s Bay communities and return rail services.”