Rail rebuild would take years

LETTER

Gillian Ward (May 8 column) is out of date some three to five years on rail inspections. She has also not responded to my last letter.

For a consultant to write the “bones are good”, I would hope the taxpayer was not paying for that. In a lot of places the bones are completely smashed and cannot be repaired — they would need to be totally replaced for a huge cost.

The Armstrong Track Consultants’ inspection was five years ago; KiwiRail’s updated inspection records are from three years ago. Don’t bring in KiwiRail’s Napier to Wairoa or Palmerston North line, stick with Blacks Beach to Gisborne.

I have said before, the Rail Action Group is trying to pull the wool over the ratepayers’ and taxpayers’ eyes.

Gillian, you say there is nothing that can’t be fixed but the rebuild required in a lot of areas will cost millions of dollars and mean it takes years to open the line . . . only for it to get washed away.

You wrote that six years ago, three trains/week of 20 wagons each were carrying chilled, fresh produce from Gisborne, providing an economical and direct freight service to Napier’s container port.

I used to see 10 to 12 wagons going to Napier (the line is 100m from my gate). Prove it was three trains a week carrying 20 containers.

My ears also told me the front eight wagons used to thump along, the rest used to rattle; that tells me they were empty. Most of the wagons coming from Napier rattled and the engine did not seem to be grunting on its way to Gisborne.

How could that round trip be economical? It would hardly pay when you take into account the cost of track staff and administration.

As I have said before, if you don’t get going you will lose the lot Gillian. Enough rubbish has been written by your team. Get Winston Peters there, I am sure he will change his mind about his election promise.

Merv Goodley

Gillian Ward (May 8 column) is out of date some three to five years on rail inspections. She has also not responded to my last letter.

For a consultant to write the “bones are good”, I would hope the taxpayer was not paying for that. In a lot of places the bones are completely smashed and cannot be repaired — they would need to be totally replaced for a huge cost.

The Armstrong Track Consultants’ inspection was five years ago; KiwiRail’s updated inspection records are from three years ago. Don’t bring in KiwiRail’s Napier to Wairoa or Palmerston North line, stick with Blacks Beach to Gisborne.

I have said before, the Rail Action Group is trying to pull the wool over the ratepayers’ and taxpayers’ eyes.

Gillian, you say there is nothing that can’t be fixed but the rebuild required in a lot of areas will cost millions of dollars and mean it takes years to open the line . . . only for it to get washed away.

You wrote that six years ago, three trains/week of 20 wagons each were carrying chilled, fresh produce from Gisborne, providing an economical and direct freight service to Napier’s container port.

I used to see 10 to 12 wagons going to Napier (the line is 100m from my gate). Prove it was three trains a week carrying 20 containers.

My ears also told me the front eight wagons used to thump along, the rest used to rattle; that tells me they were empty. Most of the wagons coming from Napier rattled and the engine did not seem to be grunting on its way to Gisborne.

How could that round trip be economical? It would hardly pay when you take into account the cost of track staff and administration.

As I have said before, if you don’t get going you will lose the lot Gillian. Enough rubbish has been written by your team. Get Winston Peters there, I am sure he will change his mind about his election promise.

Merv Goodley

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Richard - 4 months ago
What happened in the past has no relevance on today's economic activity in the region served by the rail line. The case for reopening the line must be based upon the commercial activity today, and the potential for the future.

Once-upon-a-time livestock were transported by rail in the hundreds of thousands so are we to base a railway line's future on that economic basis - clearly not. Millions of tons of coal was also transported by rail but absolutely not today. International inbound tourism was never a major economic player in the nation's economy as it is today and as it could be for the Gisborne railway. Folk who benchmark on the past cannot quantify accurately the now and the short-to-medium term.

The nation and its commercial activity has changed and will no doubt be in a state of constant change, and that will impact on all forms of freight transportation. In many countries what was lost to road haulage has returned to rail, and for many reasons.

The repair of the railway line will only take years and collapse again on the first onslaught of nature's forces if those charged with the repair rely upon outdated engineering practices, materials and tools. A resistant repair will indeed only take several months by a dedicated team comprised of appropriate modern railway civil engineering skills, equipment and materials. And their result, when allied to a stringent inspection and maintenance routine, will minimise to an acceptable risk level the potential for another long-term disastrous closure.

Railways have not stood still and neither has farming. The practices, manpower, machinery, technologies, science and scale of both industries has changed over the decades. Efficiencies of best practice have borne results leading to sustainability. Down on the farm and on the rails.

Geoff Blackmore, Taumarunui - 4 months ago
The earthquake damage to the Picton-Christchurch line was a good 30 times greater than the damage on the Wairoa-Gisborne line, and they had that reopened in 10 months. The Wairoa-Gisborne damage restoration time frame would likely be a few weeks, or a few months if you count planning. Thinking back to 1988, the damage then was much worse, but they had reopened in four weeks from Napier to Muriwai, and six months later into Gisborne.

Lloyd Gretton, China - 4 months ago
If a train line is damaged, it is repaired. I am fascinated at the skin flint arguments and stubborn block against in this case a genuine local resource for the district. Maybe a Maori cultural artefact could be built on top of the new train. Then public money would rush in and the line would be quickly repaired. Just a suggestion.