From 11 May to 11 September, KiwiRail’s Coastal Pacific train service between Christchurch and Picton will operate a reduced winter timetable. The return service will run on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday only, which are typically the most popular days for travel.
“The Coastal Pacific service historically operates at a loss during the winter months, and since the Christchurch earthquake in February last year, Coastal Pacific passenger numbers have been on average 30 to 35 percent below what they usually are,” says KiwiRail’s General Manager of Passenger Services, Deborah Hume.
“The Overlander service between Wellington and Auckland already operates a reduced winter timetable to cater for the drop in passenger demand over the slower winter period (May to September), and KiwiRail will now be doing the same with the Coastal Pacific.
“The reduced passenger numbers on the Coastal Pacific has meant that it is commercially sensible to reduce services over the winter months, as we have done with the Overlander,” Ms Hume says.
While passenger numbers on the TranzAlpine service are still lower than they were prior to the Christchurch earthquake, passenger numbers are starting to build again for that service. The service is popular throughout both the summer and winter months, so will continue to run daily throughout the winter.
“As Christchurch recovers, hotel capacity is expanded, and more attractions become available, we fully expect to see more passengers travelling on TranzAlpine and the Coastal Pacific in the future,” says Ms Hume.
From September 11, the Coastal Pacific will return to daily operations.