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Whopping 86pc favour restoring Gisborne rail link

An overwhelming majority of voters in this week's Herald web poll supported the reinstatement of the rail line to Gisborne for rail services.

Over 86 percent (357 votes) of the respondents voted “yes” to supporting the reinstatement.

That left 12 percent (49 votes) voting “no” and 2 percent (seven votes) in the “don't know” field.

The webpoll attracted a total of 413 respondents.

Many of the supporters shared their opinions on the topic.

“Yes, absolutely,” said one enthusiast. “More employment made available, keeps trucks off roads making it safer and stops wrecking our roads, a big morale booster. Could we please have a passenger service to Wairoa and Hastings, Napier.”

Another said if Gisborne was to go ahead in business and tourism for the future, “the rail is a necessity. It should nave been repaired ages ago”.

Another in favour said far less CO2 was produced to transport each tonne by rail than by road. “If local and national Government are sincere about global warming, it's a no-brainer.”

That was also the phrase used by a “yes” voter “It's a no-brainer. Logs could be railed from inland port to the port therefore keeping the trucks off city roads.”

Another said “just get it done so we can build up our new business options”.

“Reinstatement of the rail is vital to build a diverse and sustainable economy for our region,” said a “yes” voter. “We need to move goods cheaply, in bulk and with low carbon emissions. Rail does all of these.”

“It's time, no matter what KiwiRail says,” another supporter said.

Other supporting comments were:

'“Better for both the environment, the roads and motorists, as well as making economic sense.

'“It would seem to be a waste of a very valuable asset to not use it.”

'“I totally support reinstatement of our rail line. Firstly, it has huge environmental advantages. Secondly, trucks destroy roads fast and cost much more than is given. It is possible to plan for rail transport of vehicles around NZ — many other countries have that technology.”

'“I used to really enjoy this train ride from Wellington to Gisborne when I was a teenager. I've always wondered why it was stopped in the first place. Bring it back and make it a modern tourist route and get the buses off the road as the train will be far more comfortable and more scenic too as it meanders the coastline.”

'“No brainer in the bigger picture with the conditions of our roads. Do I recall an election promise on this? Seems to be happening up North.

'“Never trust anti-railers. They have loco- motives,” a light-hearted supporter said.

On the no side of the rail line one voter said “there has been no indication that it would be a viable financial operation. If logs went by train to Napier, what will that do to the viability of Gisborne's port?”

In the “I don't know” camp one voter said “I would like to see its feasibility compared to coastal shipping and alternative use of the rail corridor by Gisborne Railbike Adventures. Why not put all the options on the table and work out the best fit for the region?”

BACK IN THE DAY: A Gisborne-bound freight train passes Blacks Beach at Opoutama during the heyday of rail traffic in and out of this district.86 percent of this week's web poll support reopening the damaged Gisborne-Wairoa section of the line. File picture

  1. Richard says:

    In 1890s Sir Edward Watkin was the chairman of disparate railway companies: the Manchester, Sheffield, Lincolnshire Railway plus the Metropolitan Railway and South Eastern Railway. He had a vision to connect these: a single network, and tunnel under the English Channel to provide a through service from Manchester to Paris for passengers and freight. He achieved all except that tunnel to create the Great Central Railway. It opened in 1899.

    In the 1960s, chairman of British Rail Dr. Beeching decimated the nation’s rail network by closing a third of the track and 55 percent of the stations. Most of the GCR track was removed. Only its “Chiltern Line” from London’s Marylebone to Birmingham remained – and it’s very profitable.

    Railway visionaries like Watkin have always seen the right thing to do – but at the wrong time. He was ridiculed for such an outrageous expensive plan and called a foolish clown by the anti-rail brigades. If the GCR existed today it would be a vital and extremely profitable direct freight and passenger route to Europe. Across the globe many similar shortsighted rail closures were catastrophically enacted.

    And that is true for New Zealand, with imprudent rail infrastructure closures to balance pressing tax cutting demands for the electorate’s favour. Now, the hands on the tracks are parochial bosses twiddling within the confines of their train sets lacking any blue-sky entrepreneurship. The latest “December 2019” Draft Rail Plan is evidence of this. Their immediate priorities will not improve the mobility and economic wellbeing of the thousands of folk and businesses who’ve lost connectivity to a railway in both islands.

    What’s left of the NZ network must be saved and invested in. The track to Gisborne and many other communities must be reconnect – revitalised. Revisionists are the future of rail not restrictionists.

  2. Kelvin de Thierry says:

    I’m an independent transport cartage carrier and I’m all in and support the need to reinstate our rail system . . . less trucks on the road, less wear and tear, less damage environmentally, and more business scope. I just don’t want to see rail capitalisation financially due to a monopoly. Unfortunately, though, due to the location of commodities (logs) you still need to transport them from the forests to the rail load point . . . you will still need to deliver fuel to a station for your car . . . you will still need to deliver food to supermarkets to feed us . . . you will still need to pick up and deliver produce from farmers and growers . . . but I am still in favour of the rail system being reintroduced. One of the biggest problems with the drought situation is getting water to everyone . . . still need a truck . . . we just need to work on reducing the number of trucks on the roads, period.

  3. Teia Pomana-Luke, Porirua says:

    Absolutely

  4. Graeme Shepherd, Cádiz España says:

    Has to happen, even one return passenger service to Wellington puts 14 services a week on to the line.
    Driving everywhere is not for everyone.
    I currently live in Spain but lived in Hawke’s Bay for long periods in the railcar days.
    Modern diesel railcars with electric motors for the Wellington section would not be a big expense.
    In Spain more is spent on rail infrastructure than roads.
    Many new lines have been built for the AVE trains which cruise at 300km for large parts of the journey.
    Most major centres already have them on purpose-built lines with many new bridges, tunnels etc.
    Shouldn’t be too hard to get a passenger train running on all of the lines in New Zealand for the price of widening a stretch of road.