Save The Rail March - Ken Crispin on mic

Rail protest ‘memorial march’

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.”

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Group wants rail action

Original Article : NZ Herald Monday 30th March 2015

Supporters of the Napier-Gisborne railway line’s re-opening rallied together for a “save the rail” march in Gisborne at the weekend.

Ken Crispin, manager of the Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre’s East Coast Transportation Project, said about 90 people marched to the railway station on Grey St, Gisborne, on Saturday, in a show of support for rail services to resume on the mothballed line.

“Though [the march] was only attended by 90 people it was a passionate event with placards everywhere, and solid support for our rail services to resume,” Mr Crispin said.

The line was closed in 2012 following a washout and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council approached KiwiRail last year to discuss the possibility of leasing it to set up a short-haul freight service.

An initial council study concluded there was probably a viable business case for running a log transport business between Wairoa and Napier Port. But this month KiwiRail said it would not extend a March 1 deadline it set last year to finalise a lease agreement with the council.

“Gisborne, Wairoa and Hawke’s Bay people need to send the strongest message possible to central government ministers, that the rail is a billion dollar strategic asset essential for the district to retain, with direct government assistance needed to re-open it.”

Vital we keep pushing for rail to be retained …

Original Article : “Wairoa Star” – Thursday 26th March 2015

‘Nash Notes’ –  Stuart Nash Labour MP for Wairoa/Napier writes :

Last week KiwiRail announced it would not allow the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council more time to develop its business case for the reinstatement of the Napier-Gisborne rail line. This is a shame.

I have long argued that first-world infrastructure is vital to attracting downstream processing to the East Coast as well as taking logs off the roads. In the end, however, KiwiRail’s decision apparently came down to a lack of clear revenue projections. This basically means there are not enough customers prepared to sign up to the rail service to ensure its financial viability and minimise the financial risk to the ratepayer.

So the challenge now exists for those pushing for the reinstatement of the line to go out and sell its benefits to potential customers.

I am one of these people who have pushed hard and advocated strongly for the rail line to be reinstated and so I will be talking with people like regional council councillors Alan Dick and Fenton Wilson to see if there is anything I can possibly do to help facilitate this process.

Other options put forward for the line are simply not realistic.  A group that wants to turn 30km of the line into a road has underestimated the cost of such a process by a factor of ten – instead of costing around $60 million, the cost would be closer to $600m.  And no government is going to stump up with that amount of money even if there was to be a by-election.

The idea of a cycle track is just barmy to the point when a parliamentary select committee (dominated by National MP’s) took about five minutes to turn down a request to investigate the feasibility of such an idea.

My view is still that we absolutely need this line in order to have an integrated transport network that incorporates road and rail (not one or the other) – however, the challenge is to sell this concept to those who will use it.  I believe those who are intimately involved with getting this project off the ground will get there – because this is the right thing for our electorate and those who call Napier and Wairoa home.

-ends-

PRESS RELEASE

Refusal of KiwiRail to extend timeframe for finalisation of a lease of the Napier Gisborne Railway

Don Selby, Chairman of Napier Gisborne Railway Ltd (NGR), advisers to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on the options for reopening all or part of the mothballed Gisborne to Napier railway, expressed disappointment that KiwiRail has advised today that it will not grant an extension of time to the Council to finalise a lease of the line.

Mr Selby notedthat KiwiRail was aware that NGR was working with the Council to prepare a business case for the total or partial reopening of the mothballed line.  KiwiRail was aware that the Corporate and Strategy Committee of the Council was meeting on 18 February and undertook to prepare a draft Heads of Agreement for consideration by the Council.

A draft document was received by the Council mid-afternoon on 17February which was insufficient time for the Council and its advisers to review the document and respond.  At the Corporate and Strategy Committee meeting on 18 February NGR advised the following:

  • There appears to be a viable case for reopening the line from Wairoa to Napier for the purpose of hauling export grade logs to Napier Port.
  • There were a number of matters outstanding relating to the draft Heads of Agreement submitted by KiwiRail that must be resolved before the Council could enter into a 30 year lease with KiwiRail.
  • Unless these matters were resolved it was most unlikely that any railoperator would be prepared to commit capital to the project.

TheCommitteerecommended to the full Council that it advise KiwiRailthat the Council agrees in principle to a lease of the line subject to the terms of the lease and a number of operational matters involving KiwiRail and a rail operator being resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.

The Committeerecommended that the Council seek a reasonable extension of the time to resolve the remaining issues that, with continuation of the goodwill and cooperation by all parties,should enable a successful conclusion to be agreed.

The Committee recommended a final deadline of 30 June 2015 for resolving all outstanding matters and the Council securing a rail operator with sufficient funding to undertake the proposed rail service.

These recommendations were ratified by the full Council on 25 February 2015 and communicated in writing to KiwiRail on 27 February 2015.

Between 27 February and today we understand that there have been only two high level meetings of the Council Chairman and Chief Executive with the Chief Executive of KiwiRail.  To the best of our knowledge at no stage during these meetings was there a discussion of the substantive issues outstanding.  The expected next stage in the process was a meeting to discuss the matters detailed in the report to the Corporate and Strategy Committee on 18 February and the draft KiwiRail Heads of Agreement.  No date has yet been set by KiwiRail for such a meeting.

This decision by KiwiRail is very disappointing in view of the decision by the Council to proceed as quickly as possible to resolve outstanding issues.  Despite the decision NGR remains ready and committed to work with the Council and KiwiRail to find an acceptable outcome.

 

ENDS

 

For further information please contact:

Don Selby 027 438 8472

Project to lease disused Bay railway makes fresh progress

(“Hawke’s Bay Today” – Fri 27th February 2015)

By Simon Hendery     simon.hendery@hbtoday.co.nz

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s plans to lease the mothballed Napier-Gisborne rail line appear to be on track after it was revealed this week the chief executive of KiwiRail intends visiting the region to discuss the proposal.

Last year the council set aside $5.46 million to potentially part-fund the resurrection of a freight service on the line.  Last week its corporate and strategic committee voted its “in principle” support for negotiating a lease with KiwiRail so the line could be used to ship logs from Wairoa to Napier Port.

That decision was ratified at a full council meeting on Wednesday where Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson said he wrote to KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy last week to confirm the council’s interest in leasing the line.  “He wishes to come to the Bay and meet with me and see how this goes forward.”

In earlier correspondence, KiwiRail had given the council until March 1 to make a decision on whether it wanted to take the lease.

Mr Wilson said he had been playing “telephone tag” with Mr Reidy, so had not been able to clarify the company’s thinking, but he was confident negotiations could continue past March 1.  “The indication (from the council) is we’re interested in starting a formal negotiation around the lease of the line,” he said.  “It’s not the end of it but by the first of March we had to decide whether we were interested in leasing the line and we’ve indicated we are.”

The council had also tasked Mr Wilson with liaising with all groups interested in the proposal “to enhance the prospects of the

initiative succeeding”.  Those parties include the Napier Gisborne Rail Group, which had been attempting to find corporate funding for the proposal, Napier Port and other transport operators.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said a meeting to discuss the issue was expected to be arranged.

 

-ends-

 

Napier – Gisborne Rail Update

Thursday March 12, 2015

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chairman Fenton Wilson says he’s hugely disappointed the council hasn’t been given an extension of time to investigate the possibility of leasing the Napier to Gisborne Rail corridor.

KiwiRail has today written to HBRC declining its request for more time in which to confirm its interest in leasing the Napier-Gisborne rail line.

The line was mothballed in December 2012, after storms earlier in the year caused severe damage, which is expected to cost close to $4 million to repair. Council commissioned a business case late last year on whether leasing the line was a good investment for the Council and the region.

Fenton Wilson thanked KiwiRail for the opportunity to consider the lease of the Napier to Gisborne rail line, recognising the importance of the security of that corridor to the region.

He acknowledged the work and passion of the Napier Gisborne Rail Group personnel, who he says will be extremely disappointed with this decision.

He says the council strongly supports KiwiRail’s intent to keep the line mothballed at this time rather than fully close it in order to provide for potential freight increases. Mr Wilson says this aligns with HBRC’s objective of retaining options for access into and out of the northern part of our region.

Media contact

Fenton Wilson, HBRC Chairman | P 027 4984 483

Liz Lambert, HBRC Interim Chief Executive | 027 428 5618

Helen Shea, Communications Specialist | P 06 833 8085, 027 662 5953

Support in principle for Napier-Wairoa rail line proposal

Source : Hawkes Bay Regional Council. www.hbrc.govt.nz

Original Article here

Wednesday February 18, 2015

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Corporate & Strategic Committee is recommending Council supports in principle a proposal to lease the mothballed Napier to Gisborne Rail line from KiwiRail.
The line was mothballed in December 2012, after storms earlier in the year caused severe damage, which is expected to cost close to $4 million to repair. Council commissioned a business case late last year on whether leasing the line was a good investment for the Council and the region.
An interim business case was presented to today’s Corporate & Strategic Committee meeting recommending Council supports the opening of the rail service from Napier to Wairoa to move logs from a hub in Wairoa to Napier Port, subject to a number of conditions, including lease terms which are suitable to both KiwiRail and HBRC.
KiwiRail set a deadline of 1 March 2015 for the Council to make a decision on whether to lease the line, and at today’s meeting Councillors agreed in principle.
The Committee is recommending a final deadline of 30 June 2015 to resolve all outstanding issues between KiwiRail and HBRC, confirm an operator and private investors and to get a more definitive indication of how much support there is for the proposal from Wairoa forest companies.
It was also recommended Council Chairman Fenton Wilson liaise with all interested parties, including Council’s investment company HBRIC Ltd, the Napier Gisborne Rail Group, Napier Port, and other transport interests and KiwiRail to enhance the prospects of the initiative succeeding.
The recommendations will be considered at next Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Businesses will need to commit to rail now or venture will fail

Source: Gisborne Herald – Friday 28th November 2014

News this week that KiwiRail has conditionally agreed to lease the Napier to Gisborne rail line to the Hawke’s Bay

Regional Council, and that HBRC will now commission a business case analysis for a proposed short-haul rail operation,

is exciting for all those who want the line reopened.

The developments are testament to the efforts and passion of the six men behind the Napier-Gisborne Shortline Rail

Group, including Gisborne transport operator Steve Weatherell – who was instrumental in getting loads of squash railed

south before the washouts that led to the line being mothballed two years ago.

Their confidence in the future prospects of rail for our two regions will now be tested over the next three motnhs. HBRC

and other potential investors, as well as KiwiRail, will want to see significant freight commitments for the line – not just

hopes and sincere intentions.

It is a reasonably tight timeline and it needs to be as the rail corridor is a significant asset that has lain idle for too long.

HBRC has already shown its support for reopening the rail line by setting aside $5.5 million to invest in this venture – which

its proponents say will need another $10-12m of private funding – in its draft long-term plan. Public consultation on that

decision is yet to take place and will need to follow the due diligence process, which HBRC wants completed by end of

February.

KiwiRail has given HBRC until March 1, 2015 to respond to the lease offer. That appears to be a deadline for completion

of the business case, and the council indicating its position, rather than an actual agreement. A deadline of June 30, 2015

has been set for the project by the regions’ mayors, which ties in with the completion of council long-term plan processes.

Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne businesses with potential freight transport needs will be visited once again and, if they want

to see the rail line reopened, they should sign on the dotted line. It will take lots of freight to make this venture work, and

if that is not forthcoming this proposal won’t get off the ground.

Labour MP’s Whaitiri, Nash ‘delighted’ at decision to lease rail line

Source: Gisborne Herald – Thurs 27th November 2014

KiwiRail’s decision to allow the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) to lease the Napier to Gisborne rail line is welcomed

by Labour’s East Coast Members of Parliament Meka Whaitiri and Stuart Nash.

Mrs Whaitiri, MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, said world-class transport infrastructure was vitally important to attracting industry to

the region.

“If we are ever going to provide jobs and opportunities to our people up and down the Coast, then we need to attract the

type of industry that processes raw commodities like logs and foodstuffs.

“These are the type of industries that need reliable access to a containerised export port.”

Tauranga was 400 kilometres and the Port of Napier 200km from Gisborne.  Reopening the line is a long term commitment

to the region and makes sound economic sense.”

Reopening the rail line was something she and Mr Nash, the MP for Napier, campaigned hard on during this year’s General

Election.

A significant number of people within the region understood the economic proposition that rail brought to the district.

“We are delighted by this decision and are both confident the HBRC will end up being the saviour of this important piece of

regional infrastructure,” said Mrs Whaitiri.

Mr Nash said leasing the line to HBRC, was an innovative approach to an issue, which had polarised the East Coast.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to now take control of our own future. If the HBRC, can make it work, then this is a

fantastic outcome for those who understand the value proposition that rail provides.”

Rail back on line…

Source: Wairoa Star – Tuesday 25th November 2014

KiwiRail agrees to lease.

KiwiRail has agreed to lease the mothballed Napier to Gisborne rail line to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

After nearly two years of regional pressure the lease offer has finally been made, subject to a number of conditions.

The line was mothballed in December 2012, after storms earlier in the year caused severe damage, particularly

around the Beach Loop area on the Northern side of the Wharerata hills.

Repairs are expected to cost close to $4 million.

The next step is for the regional council to consider KiwiRail’s offer to see if it makes sense as an investment.

It has until March 1, 2015 to respond to KiwiRail.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson is excited KiwiRail has given the council and the East Coast

this chance.

“Our challenge now is to seek regional council endorsement to spend some money on due diligence which will

include geo-technical work on the washout and a final engineering inspection and report.  Then we will review the

Napier-Gisborne Railway business case to ensure the numbers are accurate and realistic.

“We have another monthly meeting in three-weeks and I would hope in that time we would have the beginnings of

the answers to many of these issues,” said Mr Wilson.

“The main news is that KiwiRail has given us a chance. There’s a lot of work to do in a short time-frame to meet

their deadline.”

“With regard to the Gisborne Distrcit Council we have not had any formal discussion about what the final funding

arrangements might look like.”

“I’m sure they are talking to their major businesses about what success looks like though.”

The regional council will meet tomorrow to discuss the proposal.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little described the announcement as fantastic news”.

“Providing the offer is viable then this is a great way to get the ball rolling.

“This is the outcome the regional leaders wanted when we all met in Wairoa with potential line users earlier this month.

“There is no reason why the Wairoa to Napier part of the line can’t begin operating again straight away.

“For us that could mean a land-based road/rail hub or port based in Wairoa.”

Mr Little hoped the KiwiRail offer was a fair one and that KiwiRail passed on the same opportunities to the regional

council that they had received themselves.

Napier-Gisborne Railway Shortline Establishment Group chairman Don Selby said the consortium welcomed this

progress and hoped the regional council sees fit to follow it through.

“There’s a lot of planning and organisational work to do and we are just waiting for the green light.”

“We are still very keen to get on with the job and provide the area with a reinstated rail service,” Mr Selby said.

MP ‘extremely happy’ at news …

Wairoa-Napier Member of Parliament, Stuart Nash said this was great news.

“The fact that KiwiRail is prepared to think outside the box and explore partnerships with engaged local authorities

who have skin in the game is a real bonus for the East Coast.”

“While it isn’t a certainty that the Regional Council will reopen the Napier-Gisborne rail link, the East Coast has been

given a lifeline and I am extremely happy that this option is now able to be worked through.”

“I am 100 per cent supportive of this iniatiative,” Mr Nash said.