12 Nov 2010

Timber plant delay threatens Gisborne-Napier rail line

8:26 am on 12 November 2010

Delay in building a timber processing plant in Gisborne could spell the end of the local rail line, which KiwiRail says it is already struggling to run.

Hikurangi Forest Farms has put its plans to build a timber processing facility on hold, citing the unstable global economy.

KiwiRail chief executive, Jim Quinn, says if the plant had been built, and was using the railway to freight its export goods, it would have made a big difference to the line between Gisborne and Napier, used by only one train each week.

He says the line is costly to maintain and KiwiRail will decide by the end of next year whether to mothball it.