Napier-Gisborne Railway Shortline Establishment Group.
The Napier-Gisborne Railway Shortline Establishment Group was formed following a workshop forum with private sector interests held in March 2013 hosted by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, in response to the then KiwiRail CEO Jim Quinn inviting proposals from the region to be submitted to KiwiRail for the use of the line.
Proposals to KiwiRail
An initial Proposal was submitted to KiwiRail at the end of May 2013. Following encouraging discussions with CEO Jim Quinn with outline terms for the lease of the line, more detailed feasibility business planning was undertaken, proposals put to Minister of Transport Hon Gerry Brownlee, and submissions made to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council that have been incorporated into the Council’s 2014-15 Annual Plan. A request has been made for the lease of the line.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council 2014-15 Annual Plan
The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is to be applauded for the constructive approach it has taken over the last year in assisting with the feasibility study, research and planning for the establishment of the Napier-Gisborne Railway shortline railway and the reopening of the Napier to Gisborne Railway as articulated in the Council’s 2014-15 Annual Plan.
This initiative is expected to provide considerable benefits for the Hawke’s Bay Region and Gisborne District.
The Council have in their Annual Plan proposed a council investment being approximately $ 5.46m towards the total investor funds required for the restoration of the Napier-Gisborne rail line in conjunction with private sector partners. The Council further resolved that the Council Chairman and Chief Executive immediately commerce exploration of options with KiwiRail and Government to secure the Napier-Gisborne rail corridor. The next steps include the Council considering a revised proposal and business case from the Napier Gisborne Railway Establishment Group in line with the NGR’s submission to the Annual Plan.
The funding needed to repair the line to “fit of purpose” operating condition is estimated at being between $ 3.5m to $ 5m.
Private Sector Funding for Operating Company
A significant component of the total required investment funding is being sourced from the private sector to complement the investment from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
With the private sector investment focused on the establishment of the Napier Gisborne Railway operating company entity, including provision of locomotives, rolling stock, plant and equipment, and working capital to operate the railway until it is generating profits sufficient to sustain the operation in its own right.
Napier Gisborne Railway Ltd
The Napier Gisborne Railway Ltd company has been formed to operate the railway. Directors include:
Chairman Don Selby, a chartered accountant with life long involvement in the New Zealand rail industry, and director of the Cairns Kuranda Rail operation in Cairns, Australia. A founder of the Pahiatua Railcar Society Inc and President for the last 23 years and currently General Manager.
Steve Weatherell, Managing Director of Gisborne based Weatherell Transport;
Katja Williams, Director, Stratix Ltd; Immediate Past President of Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce and ANZ Relationship Manager Hawke’s Bay Commercial and Agriculture.
Ian Welch, director of Nelson Stud Welding NZ, Tray-dec NZ Ltd;director of the Cairns Kuranda Rail operation in Cairns, Australia; and owner and operator of Mainline Steam Heritage Trust;
Dean McQuoid, owner and director of DBM Contracting & Rail Infrastructure, Auckland.
Designate CEO is Neil Buchanan, Civil/Mechanical Engineer, 40 years employed by KiwiRail at senior levels including Property, & Mechanical/Civil engineering planning and implementation.
Establishment Group project support from Weatherell Transport, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Forest Management NZ, Gisborne City Vintage Rail, Global Reach Associates and several others. Along with expressions of support and encouragement from many people who want to see this railway operating again.