Focus on the Land
Rail-bike proponent pushing ahead despite uncertainties
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
WITH uncertainties surrounding the future of the Gisborne to Napier rail link, there is one man who remains unfazed by the deliberations.
Auckland entrepreneur Geoff Main is the driver behind the proposed Gisborne Rail-Bikes Adventure.
He believes the project will only mean positives for the region’s economy and is confident that recent debates, prompted by the Berl report, will have no effect on his plans.
“We are just waiting for the paperwork regarding access in order to go ahead and the recent Berl report has only delayed proceedings,” said Mr Main.
“KiwiRail have to give the Berl report due consideration of course, but I believe the numbers in the report and commercial reality are just too far apart to make any difference to the decision.
“The report has held things up a bit but it won’t change anything unless we discover coal or uranium in those hills.”
KiwiRail have declined to comment on Mr Main’s optimism.
A spokesperson simply confirmed that KiwiRail had had a number of queries from interested parties with proposals regarding possible future uses of the Napier-Gisborne line.
“We have yet to finalise the mothballing process and once we have completed that task we will move forward into the next phase of evaluating those proposals,” said the spokesperson.
The independent Berl report was released in the middle of last month and questioned the KiwiRail report used to justify the mothballing of the Gisborne to Napier.
It has been on the agenda ever since for KiwiRail, central and local government representatives and a number of local rail advocates — but not Mr Main.
He has remained focused on achieving his goal which would see riders pedalling custom-made tandem rail bikes, from Gisborne to Napier, over a four-day period.
In the past few weeks he has met with property owners bordering the railway line, as well as local iwi.
Just last week he was working with Avanti to perfect the design of the rail-bikes.
While selling of the first tickets will have to be pushed out from its original March date, Mr Main was still confident that they could be under way in the first half of the year.
“We are dead set on getting this lease tied up and KiwiRail have indicated the same,” he said.
“We are just waiting to hear from them and are continuing to work away — the response we are getting from people in the area we are meeting is entirely enthusiastic.”
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