United Support for Napier – Wairoa Railway
Two transport advocacy groups, NZ Transport 2050 (NZT2050) and the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) are united in support of the re-opening of the Napier to Wairoa railway line (14 June).
The line closed in 2012 because of washouts and a lack of maintenance due to underfunding by the previous Government.
Following this closure, the quality of the highway between Gisborne and Napier has degraded with an increased number of large trucks using the winding route. Residents along the road have complained about the dangers trucks present to children en-route.
Twenty jobs were lost by a timber processor in Wairoa when the railway closed. The processor had been railing large quantities of timber to the Waikato which was uneconomic to do so by dozens of trucks regularly. “The loss of 20 full-time jobs in Wairoa was a big hit for a small community, with the railway re-opening today it opens up opportunities for wood processors to again re-establish in the town,” Paul Miller Chair of NZT2050 said.
Jon Reeves, National Co-ordinator of the PTUA, said “With the re-opening of the Wairoa section the case for finishing the project off to Gisborne is a complete no-brainer”. He added “in the future the PTUA would like to see the re-establishment of passenger trains between Napier and Gisborne not only for high-value rail tourism but also for inter-regional public transport – to connect communities along the line with Napier and Gisborne. It will also help reduce carbon emissions if we can move more people out of cars along the route and onto the environmentally friendly rail.”
The two transport groups agree it is good to see
the Provincial Growth Fund has been used to revitalise the
Napier to Wairoa section rail infrastructure as this helps
to open up the region with wider economic and social
benefits as well as reducing the impact to the regions