KiwiRail welcomes Governor General on TranzAlpine journey

25 February 2016 9:09AM

KiwiRail today welcomed the Governor General and representatives from West Coast tourism businesses, conservation and wider local community as guests on its TranzAlpine train journey. TranzAlpine celebrates 30 years of operating in 2017 and carries more than 130,000 visitors between Christchurch and Greymouth each year.

KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says, “The popularity of TranzAlpine is testament to the stunning scenery and the care of local environment, and we are proud to have the Governor General and wider community on-board.”

KiwiRail’s passenger and freight services are important for the region says Peter, “Recently West Coast Tourism estimated that TranzAlpine passengers bring in excess of $15 million to the region’s economy. The service is often full on peak days and future volumes are looking good. Passenger numbers increased by 12% on last year and revenue for the service is now in excess of pre-earthquake levels.”

KiwiRail’s Tourism services allows train travel from the West Coast across to Christchurch and then all the way up to Auckland Peter says, “We have the TranzAlpine that offers a spectacular train journey traversing coast to coast through New Zealand’s Southern Alps; the Coastal Pacific which links with our Interislander ferries; and the Northern Explorer connecting Wellington and Auckland. Our Scenic Journeys rail trips experienced record passenger numbers last week with more than 1,200 people travelling on all its services in one day.”

The Midland Line which carries the TranzAlpine over the Southern Alps is also an important freight route carrying milk from Hokitika and coal from Ngakawau to Christchurch and Rolleston.


About the TranzAlpine

  • The TranzAlpine runs daily throughout the year between Christchurch and Greymouth
  • The passenger service was introduced 22 November 1987 and rapidly became recognised as one of the world’s best train journeys 
  • The TranzAlpine has been rated by Lonely Planet as a ‘must do’ and received a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence
  • The TranzAlpine travels along the Midland line which opened in 1923 runs over 200 km between Rolleston and Greymouth. Arthur’s Pass is at 900m above sea level, and to reach it trains must climb the steepest section of track on KiwiRail’s network with a gradient of 1:33
  • The Midland line features five major bridges, five viaducts and 17 tunnels, the longest of which is the Otira tunnel at 8.5km
  • The train departs Christchurch at 08:15 returning at 18:05. It stops at Greymouth for 1hr, arriving at 12:45 and departing at 13:45
  • Travellers benefit from unique panorama carriages.  The carriages were designed and built in New Zealand with a glass roof and panoramic side windows, enabling them to take in the spectacular views
  • There is also an open air viewing deck, GPS triggered at seat commentary and an on-board licenced café showcasing New Zealand food and wine
  • The services is pulled by two DFB diesel locomotives


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