Fight for rail line ramps up

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Regional leaders from Hawke's Bay and Gisbornes have agreed to continue to fight for the Napier to Gisborne rail line following a behind closed doors meeting with KiwiRail yesterday.

Kiwirail chief executive Jim Quinn met with the Hawke's Bay Regional Transport Committee in Napier to discuss its decision to mothball the East Coast rail line, which had been closed since March when storms caused severe damage.

Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott, who attended the meeting, said the regional leaders intend to strongly lobby the Government to consider the socio-economic consequences of closing the rail line.

"We recognise KiwiRail has commercial imperatives that limit its ability to look at the wider socio-economic benefits of the rail line.

"But ... [we] will be letting the Government know our strong views on the matter," she said.

The regional transport committee's chairman Alan Dick could not be reached for comment but had last week pledged to discuss as many details from today's meeting as possible, at the committee's public meeting on Friday, October 26.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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