NZ rail revamped, but services slashed

NZ rail revamped, but services slashed

The Overlander's new "scenic" carriages
The Overlander's new "scenic" carriages

Services on a key New Zealand rail line are being upgraded, but the frequency of journeys is being slashed.

Operator KiwiRail announced today that it will replace the current Overlander train, which runs between the New Zealand’s capital Wellington and largest city Auckland, with an “internationally recognised tourism product”. The number of services on the route however, will be cut from 14 to six per week – three in each direction.

In a statement, KiwiRail said the new service would include “scenic carriages, a viewing carriage, a new menu, new uniforms and a faster journey time”.

“The current Overlander service does not have a big tourist appeal and it’s no longer being effectively used as a domestic point-to-point service between Wellington and Auckland,” admitted KiwiRail’s General Manager of Passenger Services, Deborah Hume.

“The future for long distance passenger train travel in New Zealand is now about creating an international-standard travel experience rather than simply getting people from one place to another,” she added.

The Auckland-Wellington Overlander services has been operating for 60 years.

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