28 Apr 2012

Hawke's Bay to lobby Govt over rail line

4:27 pm on 28 April 2012

Hawke's Bay transport officials are to lobby the Government to keep the Napier-Gisborne railway line.

KiwiRail is currently determining the long-term viability of the line, parts of which were washed out in March.

The route, which has been losing more than $2 million a year, was already under review before the washouts.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Transport Committee met with KiwiRail on Friday to discuss the situation.

Chairman Alan Dick says the committee will send a letter to the Government urging it to repair and retain the line.

He says if it's not retained, another transport link for the largely isolated East Coast will be lost.

Mr Dick says it was a tragic accident of fate that the line was damaged just as business on it was picking up.

"We can't afford to take a short term view on this issue. The world undoubtedly will be a different place in five, 10, 20 or 50 years time. And we just have to be very conscious of taking a strategic approach and making sure that we are future-proofed with transport options to the north of Napier."