Long distance rail services have operated throughout New Zealand for over 100 years. The services enjoyed their heyday in the 1950s and 60s, however the number of passengers carried declined through the 1970s and 80s as passengers moved to cars and airplanes.
In the late 1980s seven long distance services were brought together under the Tranz Scenic brand and continued to operate with mixed results.
The services that thrived were those offering a scenic experience for passengers and over the years the business focus shifted from simply getting passengers to their destination to offering a uniquely New Zealand scenic tourist experience.
In 2011 brand new world-class carriages were put into service. This coincided with the change of name from Tranz Scenic to KiwiRail Scenic Journeys. A change made to emphasise the “rebirth” of the remaining services as fully-fledged tourist attractions.
For more detailed information onthe history of KiwiRail and rail in New Zealand, click here.
Image one: The Overlander AO carriages traveling through central New Zealand.
Image two: New KiwiRail Scenic AK carriages, built in Hillside workshop (Dunedin) in 2011, departing Springfield Station.
Image three: TranzScenic AO carriages crossing the Waimakariri Bridge (TranzAlpine)