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KiwiRail’s iconic Coastal Pacific scenic journey will roll again between Picton and Christchurch from December 1 this year, two years after the service was put on hold because of the devastating Kaikoura earthquake.
“We are delighted to confirm this well-loved service will be running again this summer, allowing thousands of travellers from around the world to once again enjoy this spectacular coastline by train,” says KiwiRail’s GGM Sales and Commercial, Alan Piper.
“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.
“This will 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 $35m in the two regions, supporting 300 local jobs,” Mr Piper says
“KiwiRail 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.
“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%.
“KiwiRail is determined to champion tourism growth across the country, working with national and regional partners to deliver connected journeys and quality tourism experiences,” Mr Piper says
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. Day time freight services are set to resume later this year.
This article first appeared on www.kiwirail.co.nz
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