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Get over it action group

Letter

Re: Now reopen rest of line, October 4 letter.

Gillian, I have way over 100 letters to the editor sitting in a heap on the floor of my office, starting from early 2018. In that time the Rail Action Group has had over 20 letters. Other supporters, 10-15, and on they go.

The small number of supporters do not have a clue as to the amount of destruction that has happened from Gisborne to Nuhaka.

Again, I accuse your Rail Action Group of misleading the public, and not just of Gisborne.

There was $600,000 wasted (in my opinion) on the Berl report which said $36 million and 18 months to open the line, when KiwiRail and myself say $150 million-plus.

June 15, 2019 Gisborne Herald Weekender, two pages, this time factoring in wellbeing and building a vibrant community.

December 18, 2019 front page Gisborne Herald, Reinstate rail line, $20m-$23m.

July 25, 2020 Gisborne Herald Weekender, two pages — repair needed not a rebuild and vintage train's future on the line.

I didn't see any response to an article I put in The Herald not long ago, Transport links risk, “similar event to 1957 slip when, not if”.

Now here you go again: GRAG congratulates KiwiRail on getting logs from Wairoa to Napier on a weekly basis. “Now, there is just a short section of railway line which needs to be repaired and some catch-up maintenance to be done.”

If a house gets flattened by gale force winds, that is a rebuild not a repair. If 70km of rail link has many blowouts and huge amounts of damage, that is a major rebuild and major repairs (the Tikiwhata dropout needs a 60 metre viaduct built), $150m-plus. This will take some four years, as long as Blacks Beach or Waikokopu doesn't slip into the sea or the Kopuawhara River doesn't take out more rail line. (Which it will; we haven't had any real big rain for four years now).

Get over it GRAG and GDC, the Gisborne to Wairoa rail link will never reopen — it has been closed for more than nine years.

Merv Goodley

  1. Richard says:

    This banausic account from one who is not qualified in any engineering capacity whatsoever, or indeed, project management or cost accounting is simply a layman’s opinion and its pestiferous content should be dismissed as such. Such postering is not worthy of any textual emendation.

    Best think and act positively in the best interest of the future of the whole East Cape and embrace improved connectivity with the rest of the nation.

  2. Geoff Blackmore, Taumarunui says:

    Mr Goodley keeps repeating that a viaduct is needed at Tikiwhata, despite the fact it was an embankment that was there because the gully was considered too small for a bridge let alone a viaduct. It was also built by hand over a few months, yet he believes with modern technology it would somehow take years. Has he not seen the much larger embankments built on the country’s new motorways that are far larger and built in months?

    As for the figure of $150 million, perhaps Mr Goodley is unaware that figure is not only for repairs, but also replacement of the track all the way from Napier to enable the use of locomotives with 18 tonne axle loads? That is not related to or required for reopening the line to Gisborne, as evidenced by the fact half the line has already reopened to Wairoa without doing that. It just means continuing to operate the line with locomotives that have the lower 16 tonne axle loads.

  3. David Ramsden says:

    So, Mr Goodley, What do you suggest as an alternative?

    1. Ken Ovenden says:

      Hi to David and Richard, here is an open challenge to both of you. Come out from under whatever rock you have been under, come to Gisborne, hire a helicopter (at your own expense), hire an engineer that you consider knows rail lines and bridges, and survey the line. Start at Gisborne, land at each bridge, check the soundness, survey the main dropouts, land every half kilometre and check sleepers, check culverts, look for slip damage, get a good look for yourselves. Then and only then can you try to preach that the rail line is some sort of easy fix, demanding that it be reopened – gain the necessary knowledge first. And by the way, your survey would not even cover tunnels – that is an entirely separate level of expertise and has never been mentioned in any report available to the public to date. Now get flying, or take Merv’s advice and get over it, LOL

      1. Richard says:

        Please be accurate. Not once in any posting on this subject have I stated that the line will be an easy or cheap fix. I leave the magnitude of the task and its costings to those appropriately qualified to do so.

        My position is simply that it is the best interests of all East Cape communities for the line to be reinstated.

        1. Ken Ovenden says:

          Hi Richard, be accurate, get real – you want your bread buttered on both sides. You want the line open, but cost and magnitude is not your problem. Give us all a break. And just why would it be in the interest of the Gisborne community to take the freight away from the Gisborne wharf and give the work to Napier?

          1. Richard says:

            Now we see then real reason for the animosity towards the rail line. The self interest of a supporter of the warf.

            The railway is part of a nationwide infrastructure asset, there for all to use be they freight or passenger services. The regeneration of the line will give all sectors of all communities; industry, commerce, residents and tourists an additional choice. An opportunity to move goods and people by train rather than the plane, bus, car or truck into and out of the region.

            The availability of an additional logistical option enhances competition. If others in the transport industry by they by sea, road or air cannot compete then they are not operating in the best interests of their customers. Free market enterprise as opposed to allowing a coterie of monopolistic operators to dictate the movement of goods or people.

            Finally, as in all matters regarding New Zealand’s national railway infrastructure the cost and magnitude of any repair, improvement or new build of that network is examined, approved and budgeted at national level. Such action is underwritten by all tax payers so it an issue we all must face and can adjudicate upon via the ballot box rather than through incoherent ill conceived rants of those not professionally qualified in railway engineering.

        2. Meredith Akuhata-Brown says:

          Yes absolutely this is in the best interests of the region Richard – but as you can see some simply cannot fathom that in a technologically advanced world we apparently live in we cannot fix a rail line! We can build a $7.6 million two lane bridge that when the gorge is closed due to slips and road works, takes you on a round trip home.
          When I attended an infrastructure symposium I was given some great insights into what can be built if the will and support of industry that want to use a rail line is there. It’s amazing how much money we continue to pour into a roading network that has some of the worst topography and geology in the world – this is also not going to get better unless we spend millions more on science and resources to strengthen this region’s roads. The rail line has been used as a political pawn for years – the golden rule use to be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, as in do what is right for the people – but now it’s “whoever has the gold makes the rules”.

          1. Ken Ovenden says:

            Hi Meredith, as one farm rep said recently, more “hot air” from you – because if it was so much in the interest of the region, why has the council done nothing for the past nine years, while the line has rotted away to the point where now in all probability it is past fixing?

      2. David Ramsden says:

        As Richard says, Please be accurate. Not once in any posting on this subject have I stated that the line will be an easy or cheap fix.

        What I am asking, I think perfectly reasonably, is what does Mr Goodley suggest as an alternative to re-opening the line?

        1. Ken Ovenden says:

          Perhaps flying saucers, mate – only one of many possibilities.

          1. D Arthur says:

            Railway repairs – “Get over it” and “Rail inaction a disgrace” Oct 9th, “Big Dropout etc” Oct 11th

            Merv Goodley has very strong and self-confident opinions. Experts have estimated the cost of repairs – this has increased with every year of further neglect and lack of maintenance since the mothballing in December 2012.
            The BERL report (2019) estimated a cost of $36 million. KiwiRail (some of whose specialists actually had input into the BERL report) then came up with $150 million-plus, and Mr Goodley, an interested individual, then decided the KiwiRail estimate was right. It would be interesting to see how he arrived at this conclusion. I recall that prior to that he was quoting “in excess of $100 million”.
            KiwiRail also disputed the estimated profitability, saying that volumes were overstated, but under-utilisation prior to the washout was due to the inability/refusal of KiwiRail to provide the wagons required, and additionally, it was always known that produce levels would increase – as they have.
            I would not presume to know the cost, I am not an engineer and do not have access to experts with the range of expertise required, but BERL does and is well respected. It’s also interesting to see the comments on Oct 11th from Tom Wakelin, who has 40 years experience in earthmoving, and other input from people with relevant backgrounds.
            And we’re still not factoring in the cost of road transport, and the proposed cost of expanding the port!