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KiwiRail is unmoved by Saturday's Gisborne protest where hundreds of residents marched through the city demanding the repair of the region's crippled rail link.
''Nothing's changed from our perspective,'' KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said following the fix the rail rally led by Gisborne mayor Meng Foon.
Train services to and from Gisborne have been cut by three big washouts on a section of line near Wairoa.
Mr Foon said Gisborne's business community, in particular, was worried by the prospect the line could be closed permanently.
As fuel prices rose, rail had become increasingly viable with businesses increasing the goods they were freighting from five wagon loads a week to 60.
The momentum was there. "We need them to fix the line," Foon said.
Mr Quinn said KiwiRail was going through a process to gather all the relevant information.
''We want to make sure the facts are clear and a decision can then be made.''
He said the cost of fixing the three washouts, which could take up to five months, was estimated at between $3.3-$4.3 million.
But it also had to look at the cost of further upgrade work replacement of sleepers and bridges in the next 10 years and decide whether this investment was justified commercially.
Before the washouts there were just three 20-wagon trains a week on the line although there had been discussions on boosting this to six per week.
Although the Napier-Gisborne line - which took four decades to complete - would have been built at huge expense ''nobody is going to thank us for fixing it and then coming back next year and saying it's not sustainable.''
Railways Minister Gerry Brownlee was being kept informed, but had not expressed a view as to whether the line needed to be retained, said Mr Quinn.
No comment was availabe from the minister's office.
This article first appeared on www.stuff.co.nz
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