27 Dec 2016

PPP could fund damaged Gisborne railway - lobby group

12:51 pm on 27 December 2016

A rail lobby group is pushing for a damaged section of line between Gisborne and Wairoa to be repaired.

Four metres of paddock each side of the railway line belongs to KiwiRail.

Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The Napier-Gisborne line has been unused since it was badly damaged in a 2012 storm, but KiwiRail and Napier Port have since agreed to fix the southern half of the line, between Napier and Wairoa.

However, the future of the northern section between Wairoa and Gisborne is still undecided.

Gisborne Rail Co-operative Steering Group chair Nikki Searancke said her group had submitted an expression of interest to KiwiRail in a bid to get the section reopened for freight and tourism.

The group had asked for an extension until June, to give it time to put together a business case for repairing the line.

"We have tourists who come here - they'd love to get on the train and go from Gisborne to Napier and back again."

The group estimated that it would cost about $7m to repair the line and a public-private partnership might be able to finance that, Ms Searancke said.

Many business owners, such as logging companies, supported re-opening the line, she said.