Line South of Wairoa May be Saved


KiwiRail has repeated that the Napier-Gisborne line will be mothballed unless a large volume of daily freight was found to underpin the line’s viability.

At a meeting in Gisborne, reported in a KiwiRail newsletter, a number of options were canvassed.

This included closing the line north of Wairoa but keeping it open south of there.

That would be to transport to Napier more than a million cubic metres of timber coming on stream around Putrorino. The KiwiRail representative said the company was exploring with Eastland Port whether rail could help ease problems associated with increasing numbers of logging trucks passing through Gisborne.

Inland hubs such as the one Eastland Group is developing at Matawhero were working well with rail in other regions.




  1. ingolfson says:

    While we are talking mothballing, what does the KiwiRail proposal for something like that actually involve these days? Does anybody know?

    I.e., I’d have the following questions:

    - Will the rails stay in place?
    - Will structures like bridges still get at least minimal maintenance, to ensure they don’t degrade quicker than normally?
    - What will be done to prevent vandalism and theft of potentially valuable material like signals (I suspect the line is not electrified, so at least we don’t have to worry about wire theft)

  2. Geoff says:

    The Rotorua mothballing didn’t involve anything. If something breaks, it stays broken. Slips, washouts, etc, all left un-repaired.

    The SOL mothballing has involved weed spraying, and occasional checks, but no active repairs of anything.

    Continuing to maintain infrastructure would defy the purpose of mothballing.

  3. ingolfson says:

    “Continuing to maintain infrastructure would defy the purpose of mothballing.”

    I disagree - the very word implies continued care, and minimum care is a lot of difference to keeping a line up to safety standards required for operation.

    When you consider that a single bridge pillar collapsing for lack of a bit of maintenance can destroy an otherwise perfectly healthy bridge, it makes one sad that that’s the way it is being proposed.


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