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.

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