June 05, 2018
Hope as rail returns
There’s steel wheels on the Napier to Wairoa line today for the first time in six years, as work starts to restore the service scrapped when the previous Government refused to fund repairs after storm damage.
A work train will travel from Napier as far as Eskvale to deliver a load of ballast.
Kiwirail says the line should to be ready for log trains by the end of the year.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says the project met the criteria to receive $5 million from the Provincial Growth Fund because of the economic benefits it will bring the region, not just in taking logging trucks off the roads but also in its potential to boost tourism.
"Kiwirail board members and senior management are absolutely convinced that more revenue can be made for Kiwirail through tapping into the romanticism of rail, provincial journeys, upgraded tourism products and services so that international visitors who want a different way of seeing New Zealand’s landscape can go on longer , more diverse rail journeys and we’re up for that," he says.
Rail is still a big employer of Maori and he’s looking forward to meeting some of the Ngati Kahungunu workers in Ahuriri today.
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