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Coastal Pacific returns to service

1 August 2018

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 Kaikōura earthquake.

KiwiRail 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.

They expect 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.

The industry has been asking for months about the return of the Coastal Pacific. KiwiRail know it’s a firm favourite and they're thrilled to finally announce that they can now book customers on the service again.

Unfortunately, their plans to have Coastal Pacific return for a full year-round service will not be possible until all work is complete on both the roads and areas surrounding the tracks. They are still hopeful to see this service return to year-round in the near future.

This will also be very welcome news for the people of Kaikōura, 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/Kaikōura regions during its summer season. These passengers are estimated to spend almost $35m in the two regions, supporting more than 3700 local jobs.

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.

KiwiRail's scenic trains play an important role in getting domestic and international tourists to often hard to reach regions and are becoming increasingly popular. Having the service back up and running reconnects their journeys across New Zealand, allowing people to travel from Auckland to Christchurch and across to the West Coast by train and Interislander ferry.

Key Facts:

  • The Coastal Pacific will run seven days a week (except Christmas Day) from December 1, 2018 through until 28 April in 2019.
  • The services will depart Christchurch at 0700 each morning and Picton at 1415 each afternoon.
  • Key stops along the route include Rangiora, Kaikōura and Blenheim.
  • The five-hour journey includes 98km travelling along the rugged Pacific Coastline. It also journeys through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges.
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