Wairoa to Napier rail line revival delayed

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PLANS to reopen the East Coast’s only rail link between Wairoa and Napier have been delayed because the line’s new owners do not have enough logs to move.

Last year, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier Port and KiwiRail entered into a commercial agreement to reopen the mothballed line for the first time since it closed in 2012.

As part of the agreement, Napier Port will run a dedicated log service from Wairoa to Napier Port.

It was expected to start in the last quarter of this year but the regional council, which has $5.4 million set aside to reopen the line, confirmed it would not open this year.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council transport committee chairman Alan Dick said the council had a team of negotiators working on the issue.

“The team recently had discussions with KiwiRail (CEO Peter Reidy and members of his senior management team). It was a very encouraging meeting.”

Mr Dick said it was expected that the line would open next year.

“The aim is to have the line operating between Wairoa and Napier Port by this time next year to handle the significant volume of logs expected to be harvested.

“It was initially thought the line would open this year, however, after discussions with forestry owners and industry representatives it was agreed it would be next year before the volume of logs was high enough to make the line economically viable.

“Negotiations continue with the forestry companies in relation to freight charges etc and obviously these negotiations are commercially sensitive. There also still need to be discussions around the re-establishment costs of the line and underwriting the operating of the line.

“The focus remains on getting the line up and running again between Wairoa and Napier Port for three reasons: fostering economic growth in Northern Hawke’s Bay; improving road safety on State Highway 2 with the anticipated significant increase in log volume coming through; and the environmental reason of cutting back on fuel and carbon emissions.”

A statement from KiwiRail said KiwiRail, Napier Port and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council continued to work together to determine exact timings and costs for the Napier to Wairoa log service.

“Timelines for the project are fluid at this stage.”

The company confirmed that under that agreement logging freight would go no further than Wairoa on the rail line.

The Napier to Wairoa and Gisborne line was mothballed at the end of 2012 after the line was badly damaged in the Beach Loop area by a storm earlier that year.

PLANS to reopen the East Coast’s only rail link between Wairoa and Napier have been delayed because the line’s new owners do not have enough logs to move.

Last year, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier Port and KiwiRail entered into a commercial agreement to reopen the mothballed line for the first time since it closed in 2012.

As part of the agreement, Napier Port will run a dedicated log service from Wairoa to Napier Port.

It was expected to start in the last quarter of this year but the regional council, which has $5.4 million set aside to reopen the line, confirmed it would not open this year.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council transport committee chairman Alan Dick said the council had a team of negotiators working on the issue.

“The team recently had discussions with KiwiRail (CEO Peter Reidy and members of his senior management team). It was a very encouraging meeting.”

Mr Dick said it was expected that the line would open next year.

“The aim is to have the line operating between Wairoa and Napier Port by this time next year to handle the significant volume of logs expected to be harvested.

“It was initially thought the line would open this year, however, after discussions with forestry owners and industry representatives it was agreed it would be next year before the volume of logs was high enough to make the line economically viable.

“Negotiations continue with the forestry companies in relation to freight charges etc and obviously these negotiations are commercially sensitive. There also still need to be discussions around the re-establishment costs of the line and underwriting the operating of the line.

“The focus remains on getting the line up and running again between Wairoa and Napier Port for three reasons: fostering economic growth in Northern Hawke’s Bay; improving road safety on State Highway 2 with the anticipated significant increase in log volume coming through; and the environmental reason of cutting back on fuel and carbon emissions.”

A statement from KiwiRail said KiwiRail, Napier Port and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council continued to work together to determine exact timings and costs for the Napier to Wairoa log service.

“Timelines for the project are fluid at this stage.”

The company confirmed that under that agreement logging freight would go no further than Wairoa on the rail line.

The Napier to Wairoa and Gisborne line was mothballed at the end of 2012 after the line was badly damaged in the Beach Loop area by a storm earlier that year.

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Winston Moreton - 2 months ago
Get the terminology right please. Badly damaged in, not "by", a storm. Some evidence points to a lack of maintenance of the overflow culverts. And why is the discussion limited to economic benefit in freight haulage terms? Other benefits, including more jobs, should be factored in.

Julian Michael Tilley - 2 months ago
The new issue out this week of RTANZ magazine quotes Infrastructure NZ under the headline. "Government to build the world's most expensive road".
Infrastructure NZ has calculated Auckland's East West Link will cost $327 million per kilometre. This will make it the most expensive road ever built anywhere in the world. Anne can you whisper in Bill's ear and remind him where Gisborne actually is and that it's part of a true-blue electorate and we also have roads that need to be maintained and a rail link that could be reinstated for less than 20 metres of the cost of the East West Link ($6.5m) - the East West Link will connect Highway One to Highway 20, starting at Sylvia Park. Bill English pledged support for the link last month, promising to build it if re-elected.

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