The Great Journeys of New Zealand

Wednesday, 3 April 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

The Great Journeys of New Zealand © KiwiRail/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Great Journeys of New Zealand © KiwiRail/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Great Journeys of New Zealand is the tourism division of KiwiRail that brings together its three Scenic train services (TranzAlpine, Northern Explorer and Coastal Pacific) with its passenger ferries business, Interislander. The new division was launched in May 2017 and replaced the former tourism brand, KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.

Passenger trains in New Zealand were operated by the New Zealand Railways Department from 1880 to 1981, alongside private rail operators such as the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company. The Department was corporatised as the New Zealand Railways Corporation (NZRC) in 1982, and later reorganised as a state-owned enterprise in 1986. A consulting study commissioned by the NZRC and carried out by Booz Allen Hamilton recommended re-orientation of long-distance passenger services toward tourist operations. The Fourth Labour Government passed the New Zealand Railways Corporation Restructuring Act 1990 on 28 August of that year. Two months later, on 28 October 1990, the New Zealand government removed core rail transport and shipping operations from the New Zealand Railways Corporation, creating a separate entity called New Zealand Rail Limited, a Crown Transferee company created under the Act. New Zealand Rail Limited’s long-distance passenger trains carried the InterCity Rail branding. New Zealand Rail Limited was privatised and sold to a consortium named TranzRail Holdings Limited in 1993, and changed its name to Tranz Rail in 1995. As part of the rebranding exercise, InterCity Rail was renamed Tranz Scenic. As part of a restructuring programme, in November 2001 Tranz Scenic was incorporated as stand-alone subsidiary Tranz Scenic (2001) Ltd. Tranz Rail sold 50% of Tranz Scenic to two directors of the Victoria, Australia, rail operator West Coast Railway for $33 million. The sale included long-distance passenger rolling stock and ten diesel locomotives of the DC class (reclassified DCP), and two EF class electric locomotives. Tranz Rail was taken over by Australian transport firm Toll Holdings in 2003, and in July 2004 the 50% share of Tranz Scenic was purchased by Toll, as one of the West Coast Railway directors had died and the business was not performing adequately.

Coastal Pacific train on Kaikoura Coast © Alex Burgess/cc-by-sa-4.0 Interislander - MV Kaitaki in Wellington Harbour © Karora Northern Explorer train near Waiouru © Johnragla/cc-by-sa-3.0 Northern Explorer train on Hapuawhenua Viaduct © Johnragla/cc-by-sa-3.0 The Great Journeys of New Zealand © KiwiRail/cc-by-sa-4.0 TranzAlpine train near Lake Sarah © Johannes Vogel/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Northern Explorer train on Hapuawhenua Viaduct © Johnragla/cc-by-sa-3.0
In 2011, KiwiRail developed a new brand of passenger trains geared toward the increasing tourism industry in New Zealand. The new brand, named KiwiRail Scenic Journeys, was launched with a new breed of AK-class carriages designed to showcase New Zealand’s scenery, as well as providing long-distance passenger train services. During the transformation, the TranzCoastal train was rebranded as the Coastal Pacific and the Overlander became the Northern Explorer; whereas the TranzAlpine‘s name was retained. Meanwhile, KiwiRail’s ferry brand, Interislander, was building on its core business taking vehicles and freight across Cook Strait and looking to promote the trip as an iconic tourism experience and a scenic alternative to flying.

In 2017, KiwiRail decided to bring them together under one brand, The Great Journeys of New Zealand, which offers a connected passenger service throughout New Zealand, from Auckland to Greymouth, via train and ferry. The division is now experiencing rapid double digit annual growth, due to the growth of Chinese tourism to New Zealand, leading KiwiRail to announce that it may purchase eight AK-class carriages to add to the seventeen purchased in 2010.

Read more on The Great Journeys of New Zealand and Wikipedia The Great Journeys of New Zealand (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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