KiwiRail Scenic Journeys

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KiwiRail Scenic Journeys
Industry Rail transport in New Zealand
Founded 1987 (as InterCity Rail)
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Area served
New Zealand
Services Long-distance passenger trains
Parent KiwiRail (2011 - present)

KiwiRail Scenic Journeys is the long-distance passenger train brand of KiwiRail, previously Tranz Scenic (1995—2011) and InterCity Rail (1987—1995).


Former logo of Tranz Scenic, 1995-2011.

The first branding of long-distance trains was as InterCity Rail, in 1987, renamed Tranz Scenic in 1995.

As part of a restructuring programme, in November 2001 Tranz Scenic was incorporated as stand-alone subsidiary Tranz Scenic (2001) Ltd. Tranz Rail sold 50% of Tranz Scenic to two directors of the Victoria, Australia, rail operator West Coast Railway for $33 million.[1] The sale included long-distance passenger rolling stock and ten diesel locomotives of the DC class (reclassified DCP), and two EF class electric locomotives. Tranz Rail was taken over by Australian transport firm Toll Holdings in 2003, and in July 2004 the 50% share of Tranz Scenic was purchased by Toll, as one of the West Coast Railway directors had died and the business was not performing adequately.[2]

In July 2012 it was revealed that KiwiRail was considering selling the remaining services.[3]


The Northern Explorer about to depart from Wellington Railway Station with new AK class carriages.
The Overlander hauled by an EF class electric locomotive near Waiouru on the North Island Main Trunk.

KiwiRail Scenic operates four scheduled trains:

Line Frequency (each way) Calling at Notes
Capital Connection Daily (Mon-Fri) Palmerston North, Shannon, Levin, Otaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu, Wellington
Coastal Pacific Daily (summer only) Picton, Blenheim, Seddon, Kaikoura, Waipara, Rangiora, Christchurch
Northern Explorer 3 per week Auckland Strand, Papakura, Hamilton, Otorohanga, National Park, Ohakune, Palmerston North, Paraparaumu, Wellington
TranzAlpine Daily Christchurch, Rolleston, Darfield, Springfield, Arthur's Pass, Otira, Moana, Kokiri, Greymouth

KiwiRail has trialled excursions with its refurbished Silver Fern railcar to destinations including Napier and Gisborne as part of its Explore By Rail trips. Other Silver Fern tours have included a Queen's Birthday day tour to Napier, tours to the Tui brewery via the Manawatu Gorge, an Easter Weekend trip to Gisborne, Valentine's Weekend and ANZAC Weekend tours to the central North Island. These excursions have been discontinued.


DCP 4761 in Tranz Scenic livery hauling the TranzAlpine.

The Tranz Scenic brand and blue livery has been replaced by white KiwiRail livery with the introduction of AK carriages on the Coastal Pacific, TranzAlpine and Northern Explorer.[4]

Former trains[edit]

In 2004 Tranz Scenic withdrew the Northerner overnight Auckland – Wellington service, citing poor patronage. This was the last overnight service in New Zealand. Tranz Scenic also reduced the number of stations served by the Overlander service on the North Island Main Trunk.

In April 2006, Toll NZ announced that it was proposing to[5] sell its two South Island trains, the TranzAlpine and the TranzCoastal. In July the end of The Overlander service was announced, but after significant protest and an increase in patronage (due to the publicity) the service continued, operating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during winter and daily in high summer. In 2009 a resumption of seven-day-a-week operation was announced, a result of increasing passenger numbers.

Withdrawn 1995[edit]

Withdrawn 2001[edit]

Withdrawn 2002[edit]

Withdrawn 2004[edit]

Withdrawn 2012[edit]

Rolling stock[edit]

New AK class carriages on the Coastal Pacific at Picton.

In March 2009 the New Zealand government confirmed funding of NZ$39.9 million for 17 AK Class carriages for the TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific. The class are the first passenger carriages to be designed and built in New Zealand for many years and were built at KiwiRail's Hillside Workshops in Dunedin, with three cars entering service on the Coastal Pacific on 2 November 2011.[6]

Further AK carriages were deployed on the new Northern Explorer and The TranzAlpine. The Capital Connection uses British Rail 1970s carriages, refurbished in New Zealand as the S Class.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Auckland rail deal clinched". New Zealand Herald. 24 December 2001. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Toll NZ buys back Tranz Scenic passenger services". 20 May 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Opposition parties criticise TranzScenic plans". Radio New Zealand. 1 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Auckland Trains - New Tranz Carriage Look
  5. ^ "Tranz Alpine journey up for grabs". One News. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Palmer, Kloe (3 November 2011). "New carriages debut on South-Island's rails". Christchurch: 3 News. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 

External links[edit]