Rail line unsuited to cycles, unsafe

LETTER

Re: Road-to-rail vehicle suited, Dec 29 column.

I agree that no members of the public should be allowed unsupervised on any part of the Napier-Wairoa-Gisborne railway. It is totally unsuited as a cycle/walking trail. As Deane Hollis states, the no.19 Tikiwhata tunnel is about three kilometres (fifth longest on NZR), no. 26 Waikoura tunnel, just north of Beach Loop is 1443 metres long (10th longest on NZR) and no. 23 coast tunnel is just short of 1km. There are, in fact, 12 tunnels in the the 22km between Paritu Loop and Bartletts. As Mr Hollis states, it is wild country and the safety of users is paramount in such conditions.

No comparison can be drawn between the Otago Rail Trail and Napier-Gisborne line. The Otago Rail Trail is 144km long, there are three short tunnels and five small towns. Napier-Gisborne is 212km, has 21 tunnels and there is only one town — Wairoa — on the whole route. The cost to users would be more than most would be prepared to pay. Just to light the five longest tunnels and equip the bridges with guard rails, plus guard rails along the track with steep drop-offs would amount to a lot of money, several million, I would suggest.

The line is best suited to what it was built for — freight and passengers — but I concede with Dean’s idea that hi-rail bus-type vehicles could be used to convey passengers when ordinary trains were not running.

Phil Hunt

Re: Road-to-rail vehicle suited, Dec 29 column.

I agree that no members of the public should be allowed unsupervised on any part of the Napier-Wairoa-Gisborne railway. It is totally unsuited as a cycle/walking trail. As Deane Hollis states, the no.19 Tikiwhata tunnel is about three kilometres (fifth longest on NZR), no. 26 Waikoura tunnel, just north of Beach Loop is 1443 metres long (10th longest on NZR) and no. 23 coast tunnel is just short of 1km. There are, in fact, 12 tunnels in the the 22km between Paritu Loop and Bartletts. As Mr Hollis states, it is wild country and the safety of users is paramount in such conditions.

No comparison can be drawn between the Otago Rail Trail and Napier-Gisborne line. The Otago Rail Trail is 144km long, there are three short tunnels and five small towns. Napier-Gisborne is 212km, has 21 tunnels and there is only one town — Wairoa — on the whole route. The cost to users would be more than most would be prepared to pay. Just to light the five longest tunnels and equip the bridges with guard rails, plus guard rails along the track with steep drop-offs would amount to a lot of money, several million, I would suggest.

The line is best suited to what it was built for — freight and passengers — but I concede with Dean’s idea that hi-rail bus-type vehicles could be used to convey passengers when ordinary trains were not running.

Phil Hunt

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Paul - 11 months ago
Hmm ... cyclists don't need railings and can carry their own lights for the tunnels. Let's not get too nanny state.

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