Northern Explorer

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Northern Explorer
Northern Explorer at Wellington.JPG
Wellington departure is 7.55am
Service type Inter-city rail
Locale North Island, New Zealand
First service 25 June 2012
Current operator(s) KiwiRail Scenic Journeys
Start Wellington
Stops 7
End Auckland
Distance travelled 681 km (423 mi)
Average journey time 10 hours 55 minutes northbound
10 hours 35 minutes southbound
Service frequency 3x per week
On-board services
Class(es) Standard class
Seating arrangements Airline style, alcove, and lounger
Catering facilities On-board café
Observation facilities Large windows in all carriages
Baggage facilities Overhead racks
Baggage carriage
Rolling stock New Zealand AK class carriages,
DC or DFT locomotive

The Northern Explorer is a long-distance passenger train between Auckland and Wellington in the North Island of New Zealand, along the North Island Main Trunk (NIMT). It replaced the Overlander from 25 June 2012.



The first regular daylight Wellington-Auckland passenger train services, augmenting the older overnight services, were the steam-hauled Daylight Limited and diesel-hauled Scenic Daylight, which ran primarily during summer months and Easter holiday period for many years from the 1920s onwards. The arrival of the Blue Streak and later Silver Fern railcars saw an end for a time to regular carriage trains. At the time of its cessation, The Overlander was usually hauled by DC or EF locomotives with NZR 56-foot carriages.

Re-branding as the Northern Explorer[edit]

In 2012, passenger numbers were in decline. KiwiRail decided to replace the Overlander with the Northern Explorer, from Monday 25 June 2012. The new service uses one AKC and three AK class carriages, an AKL class luggage van and an AKV class power/viewing van from the Coastal Pacific. The timetable was accelerated by eliminating intermediate stops except Paraparaumu, Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park, Otorohanga (summer only), Hamilton and Papakura.[1]

Northern Explorer near Waiouru
Hapuawhenua Viaduct, south of National Park


  1. ^ "Dash to catch the last train". Manawatu Standard. 25 June 2012.