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TranzAlpine scenic journey celebrates 30 years

1 November 2017

One of the world’s most popular scenic train journeys is celebrating 30 years of operation.

The TranzAlpine journey between Christchurch and Greymouth is 223 kilometres one-way and takes just under five hours.

It has grown "from humble beginnings” to one of New Zealand’s most popular attractions, says KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy.

KiwiRail started offering the scenic trip in November 1987 “after it became clear how much passengers on our Christchurch-to-Greymouth service enjoyed the scenery”, Reidy says.

“We’ve come a long way since then. Today our passengers enjoy an open-air viewing platform and commentary which regularly garners rave reviews. What hasn’t changed is the stunning scenery they pass on their journey,” he says.

This includes the Canterbury Plains and their famous braided rivers, dramatic gorges and river valleys, high country sheep stations, beech forests and the Southern Alps.

The TranzAlpine was recently named one of the world’s top scenic train journeys by National Geographic.

The magazine says "in just five hours you'll see some of the most stunning sights in New Zealand".

Passengers pass through 16 tunnels, the longest of which is the 8.5km Otira Tunnel, and cross four viaducts.

The service carries about 55,000 passengers a year into Greymouth and Reidy says the community’s support and warm welcome has helped ensure its success.

A special TranzAlpine beer has been brewed by Monteith’s for the 30th anniversary.

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