Nash talks up reopening of rail link

Original article From Hawke’s Bay Today 

Mon 19th Oct 2015

by Sophie Price

Napier MP Stuart Nash is keeping the possibility of the Napier-Gisborne rail reopening on track, having recently had talks

with KiwiRail.  He used the time to argue why the link was important to the region, encouraging KiwiRail to explore all options.

“KiwiRail listened,” he said.  “What they will do is they will look at the facts and they will make a decision that they feel is

best for their organisation, for the country and for the region.”

The link is currently up for debate with the transport SOE still considering tenders from tourism or freight rail operators

interested in running services on the line.

A spokesman for KiwiRail said it was not considering resuming services on that part of the network.

“However, we are still working through the evaluation process in regards (to) the tender (process) and will make an

announcement in due course.”

Napier-Gisborne Railway Ltd director Ian Welch said while he could see the line opening up in the future, current Government

policy appeared not to favour reopening.

NGRL was formed some time ago to facilitate the reopening of the Napier-to-Wairoa rail line, then eventually the Wairoa-to-

-Gisborne section.

Mr Welch said the section of the line between Napier and Wairoa had suffered the least damage and could be reopened

with little capital required.

“Rail is probably the most efficient way of moving the northern forest logs to port.  Also it lessens the number of trucks

and potential road fatalities.”

Tukituki MP Craig Foss said the evidence was that the line was hardly being used before the washout.

“Businesses were choosing not to use the line, and had been choosing not to do so for many years,” he said.

“I would be very concerned if the people of Hawke’s Bay were exposed to this as both taxpayers and ratepayers.”

One body that has put a tender in to provide a service on the Napier-Gisborne line is the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC).

Last year the council set aside $5.46 million to potentially part-fund the resurrection of a freight service on the line.”

“HBRC submitted an alternative proposal, not a compliant tender, involving a potential contract between HBRIC (Hawke’s Bay

Regional Investment Company) and/or Napier Port and KiwiRail,” said Liz Lambert, HBRC interim chief executive.

“To date no response has been received from KiwiRail.”

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