Long Distance Rail Numbers Up


The rail renaissance continues despite recessionary times in the past 12 months.

All of KiwiRail’s long distance services have shown passenger increases except the Capital Connection which was no doubt affected by Wellington’s service disruptions.

To June this year, long distance passenger fare revenue was up 10 percent on last year.

Passenger numbers on the three, true long distance services, Overlander, TranzCoastal and TranzAlpine all increased. The most impressive growth came from the Overlander where passenger bookings grew by 24 percent.

TranzCoastal numbers increased by 12 percent and TranzAlpine by 7 percent.

Service levels on the two South Island trains will improve during the 2011 year when 17 new purpose built carriages currently under construction at Hillside Workshops are due to come into service.

The Capital Connection figures were down 4%, attributed to the Wellington rail disruptions.

During the year, the long distance passenger business has been trying new ideas for trips using a refurbished Silver Fern railcar.

Early examples have been a Chateau Tongariro Valentines Day excursion and food and wine excursion to the Hawke’s Bay.

Two further Silver Fern railcars have yet to be refurbished. KiwiRail sees this as an opportunity to either extend the range of excursion trips or offer a regional rail service.

On the issue of Waikato Rail, KiwiRail’s annual report notes:

A proposal for a Hamilton-Auckland rail link was prepared for Hamilton City Council. It reflected KiwiRail’s need to operate in a commercial manner. The Council decided that it alone was not prepared to meet the difference between the cost of running the service and the amount collected in fares.




  1. Andy says:

    This is only good news and it would be great to see more services reopening. If regular patronage is a problem, it would be nice to initially have services running in the holiday seasons when people travel around more.

  2. Luke says:

    Overlander definitely needs to be back to 7 day a week operation all year. Also how about ordering some new carriages for the Overlander as well. Especially considering it now has more pax than the Tranz Coastal.
    There was a bit of talk about a Chch - Dunedin return service using one of the Ferns, how ever the new govts risk aversity seems to have killed than one off unfortunately.

  3. karl says:

    Overlander definitely needs to be back to 7 day a week operation all year.

    What are the winter patronage levels, though? It still is a tourist train, and not sure that gets enough patronage for a 7day service in winter. Summer schedules, sure.


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