Print this page

Strong case for reopening Gisborne to Napier line

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

New Zealand’s Tairawhiti Rail will try to reopen the Gisborne to Napier railway line, which it sees as financially viable. The new, not-for-profit organisation Tairawhiti Rail (TRL), formed by a group of local directors, was revealed this week in a submission to Gisborne District Council’s 2018/28 long-term plan.

TRL plans to bring together the contractors necessary to initiate a regional short-line railway service, if KiwiRail is not prepared to manage the line. TRL believed there was a strong commercial case for restoring the rail link, based primarily on shipping containers and supported by the recent growth in horticulture and timber processing. With restoration of the line from Napier to Wairoa under way, possibly all the way to Mahia, it was logical to complete restoration of the whole line.

According to, TRL plans to lodge a proposal with the Provincial Growth Fund, asking the Government to restore the line. They were not asking the council for any funding, just their support to add rail to the regional land transport plan as a competitive transport option for local industry.

The commercial case is simple. There are approximately 5000 containers a year to be trucked to Napier in the next two to three years. This could grow to 10,000 over the next 10 years. It costs $1600 to 1700 to bring in a container by road. By rail this could be $1000 to 1100.

When reaching the number of 10,000 containers, the saving for local industries would be $6 million to 7 million a year. Produce shipped to Tauranga, kiwifruit, persimmons and wine, could also be diverted to Napier.

A FreshPlaza releaseWednesday 16 May 2018