KiwiRail’s Coastal Pacific service between Christchurch and Picton will run daily from 1 December 2018 (except for Christmas Day) through until late April 2019
Coastal Pacific train service to return from December
KiwiRail’s iconic Coastal Pacific scenic journey will roll again between Picton and Christchurch from 1 December this year, two years after the service was put on hold because of the devastating Kaikoura earthquake.
WEB EXCLUSIVEAlan Piper, KiwiRail’s group general manager, sales and commercial, says they are delighted to confirm the well-loved Coastal Pacific service will be running again this summer, allowing thousands of travellers from around the world to once again enjoy the spectacular coastline by train.
“We expect our services to fill up fast, particularly as many people will be keen to take advantage of the service to see the amazing job done to restore the road and railway line through this area,” Mr Piper says.
“This will also be very welcome news for the people of Kaikoura, as the Coastal Pacific plays a critical role in the local economy by bringing thousands of tourists into the area.”
Before the earthquake, the Coastal Pacific carried about 43,000 passengers into the Marlborough/Kaikoura regions during its summer season. “These passengers are estimated to spend almost $35 million in the two regions, supporting 300 local jobs,” Mr Piper says.
Key stops along the route include Rangiora, Kaikoura (pictured) and Blenheim
A million tourists a yearKiwiRail is one of New Zealand’s largest tourism operators, delivering a million tourists around the country each year on its Great Journeys of New Zealand ferry and train services.
“Our scenic trains play an important role in getting domestic and international tourists out into often hard-to-reach regions, and are becoming increasingly popular. Having the service back up and running reconnects our journeys across New Zealand, allowing people to travel from Auckland to Christchurch and across to the West Coast by train and ferry,” Mr Piper says.
“February and March this year were the biggest months ever on the South Island’s award-winning TranzAlpine rail journey and the North Island’s Northern Explorer, with business up more than 10% on any previous year. Overall, TranzAlpine passenger business has grown by 90% over the past five years, while the Northern Explorer is up 71%.”
Daytime freight services set to resumeMr Piper says KiwiRail is determined to champion tourism growth across the country, working with national and regional partners to deliver connected journeys and quality tourism experiences.
The Coastal Pacific service was suspended after the 14 November Kaikoura earthquake in 2016. The Main North Line reopened to restricted freight services in September last year, just 10 months after the devastating earthquake.
Freight services have been running at night to allow work to continue during the day to repair the rail and road. Daytime freight services are set to resume later this year.