Another piece of rail news from New Zealand.
The Napier to Gisborne Rail link may reopen to Wairoa later this year if a business case currently being undertaken by a consortium of interested parties stacks up
Good luck with that one - I do support it but it will be a hard road I think. Much more than the parties realise. Just look at Mr Bryce and the Kingston Flyer (re)closure again to see that! And that was only 15km of track in a prime tourist area with well established markets!!
The regional council will have to support it for a while if it is to suceed like the Taieri Gorge railway in Dunedin sort of has.
News clip follows below:
Light in tunnel for Napier to Gisborne line
The rail freight service north of Hawke's Bay has been thrown a lifeline by a consortium which could yield financial gains to regions along the route, with plans to be running out of Wairoa by Christmas.
Hawke's Bay Regional Transport Committee chairman Alan Dick said a bid had been made by a commercial consortium to revive the line.
Respected and highly successful road and rail transport operators, industry representatives and professional business advisers formed the consortium, Dick said.
The private companies included excursion operators and a New Zealand-based firm operating short-line rail services in Australia, although the exact details were yet to be revealed.
Gisborne firms Weatherell Transport and Leaderbrand were believed to be involved.
"For the past two months investigations have been under way to determine the feasibility of a separately run, privately owned, short-line rail service, leasing the line and infrastructure from KiwiRail,'' Dick said.
An investment proposal should be ready to be considered in four to six weeks, Dick said.
"With all parties co-operating, good management and a bit of luck, trains could be running out of Wairoa by Christmas."
Wairoa Mayor Les Probert said if it went ahead it would be of benefit to Wairoa but was cautious about how much.
"It all depends on how much freight they can get going through as to the actual benefit."
Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said she welcomed the private initiative but warned it needed to be sustainable.
"It they can keep it running long-term it will be good for the whole region.
"We [the mayors in the region] have been working with the Government to make the region financially productive for the next three decades and this initiative needs to fit in with that."
KiwiRail applauded the enthusiasm for rail and finding a way to make rail a viable proposition in the region, chief executive Jim Quinn said .
"We have always said that investment in rail is possible where the commercial outcome is positive, however, that has yet to be proven."
They would support of any initiative that means a commercial outcome for the line, he said.
The Napier to Gisborne rail line was mothballed late last year due to high maintenance costs and expensive storm damage that KiwiRail were not prepared to repair.
At the time KiwiRail estimated reinstating the line would cost about $4 million - with ongoing maintenance costs likely to rise above $2m a year.