Starting premium service
by Mike Isle
KiwiRail is launching its first premium tourism service with a $40 million investment from the government’s Provincial Growth Fund, which will put new carriages onto the award-winning Coastal Pacific scenic journey.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the investment at a celebration in Kaikoura as the first passenger train ran on the line from Picton to Christchurch, two years after it was closed by the Kaikoura earthquake.
“This investment will bring thousands more high-value tourists into the Marlborough, Kaikoura and Canterbury regions, with additional capacity, platform upgrades and our first ever premium carriage,” says KiwiRail acting chief executive, Todd Moyle.
“The Coastal Pacific plays a critical role in the economies of towns along its route. Before the Kaikoura earthquake, it brought about 42,000 passengers a year into Marlborough and Kaikoura alone.
“With this investment we will see double that number within a decade, creating more than 400 new local jobs.”
The $40 million investment will allow KiwiRail to run the Coastal Pacific all year round, adding a 63-seat carriage to meet demand in peak season, and a new luxury premium carriage offering more space and high-quality food and beverages to go along with the spectacular views.