NZ Overlander - new carriages, but fewer trains

Status
Not open for further replies.

williamn

Member
Joined
22 May 2008
Messages
537
The Overlander service in New Zealand, between Auckland and Wellington, is receiving new carriages but being cut to only 3 trips each way a week. Several intermediate stops are also being cut. Full details on the link. I love the way they spin it saying that having a 3 day a week service is actually better as it is simpler than having seasonal variations in service frequency!

http://www.kiwirail.co.nz/news/152/...-train-service-to-replace-the-Overlander.html
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

PFX

Member
Joined
18 Dec 2011
Messages
352
I tried to catch the southbound service from Palmy North to Wellington in 2001, only to see the rear end of a Mk 2 disappearing in the distance. Meant a coach trip that was driven by a maniac with a death wish. I survived...
 

Greenback

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
9 Aug 2009
Messages
15,370
Location
Llanelli
New Zealand rail passenger services have been in decline for years. They may as well give up completely apart from the commuter services around Auckland and Wellington.
 

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,616
New Zealand rail passenger services have been in decline for years. They may as well give up completely apart from the commuter services around Auckland and Wellington.
Nah the north south services are an excellent tourist attraction. If they wound that down then there would be not much need for most of the line due to lack of freight and then no steam trips along the lines to the outer reaches either.

Its very well used and the new carriages will be welcome and the panoramic windows in there look great. I can understand the reduction of services because in winter some loadings are quite poor but im pleased they are keeping with it. The one thing that struck kme was the change over of crews in the middle of nowhere - no platform or anything. they just dropped to the track and swapped over.. Fantastic

In fact if they would employ me Id be over there tomorrow.. I am pretty much in love with NZ and its railways :lol:
 

williamn

Member
Joined
22 May 2008
Messages
537
I used it 18 months ago and it was packed. I imagine that it loses money though, even if full. Kind of sad when you think that the route used to be so much busier, with sleeper trains etc.

I am sure some of the intermediate stops on the route that are being cut will miss it. Seems strange as if it's a primarily tourist railway then the end to end time surely can't matter so much?
 

DownSouth

Established Member
Joined
10 Dec 2011
Messages
1,545
Ironically, what the new model for the Overlander reflects is really just a copy of something done successfully in Australia (like most good things in NZ!) with the current operations of its namesake The Overland between Adelaide and Melbourne. This operates during the day, three times each way each week. Being a tourist-focused train operating on a single-track network (which is of national importance exclusively for the freight carried) means that they know in advance how many passengers will be travelling and the consist length can be adjusted accordingly.

Cutting the number of trains is a far more preferable option than cutting the service altogether.
I am sure some of the intermediate stops on the route that are being cut will miss it. Seems strange as if it's a primarily tourist railway then the end to end time surely can't matter so much?
The intermediate stops being cut would not be because of improving the end to end time, that's not something that would be a factor on what they are trying to recreate as a premium tourist service like the Great Southern Rail trains in Australia.

It would be because those stops are very poorly used and cost each train more to stop/start (in fuel and general wear & tear) than the revenue earned from those stops. There is also the issue of whether the passenger train stopping too many times is getting in the way of freight trains, perhaps it could be that the stops needed to be cut in order to avoid The Overlander needing to wait at stations/loops for freight train/s to overtake.

It's a similar situation with the Great Southern Rail interstate trains in Australia on the Adelaide-Melbourne, Adelaide-Darwin and Sydney-Adelaide-Perth trips. Their online advertising only mentions the major stations, with the intermediate stops being treated as request stops which must be booked in advance and the time being given with a ±30 minute margin. I'm informed by a friend who lives in Bordertown that they've only seen The Overland stop there a couple of times in three years of living there!
 

185

Established Member
Joined
29 Aug 2010
Messages
3,852
Overlander was a fantastic trip, some great sights in the National Park.

This is the beginning of the end, and KiwiRail should know that running the service down to a pointless three days a week frequency is a sure fire way to kill it.
 

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,616
Overlander was a fantastic trip, some great sights in the National Park.

This is the beginning of the end, and KiwiRail should know that running the service down to a pointless three days a week frequency is a sure fire way to kill it.
I doubt if they would invest in new coaching stock if they were going to run it into the ground dont you?

Having 3 per week may seem futile at the moment but im sure they will judge it after the first summer season to see if they have got their forcasts wrong but I know from my few trips on it and the works around Auckland it may be that they are not going to be guaranteed decent paths into the Britomart with the extra services they were planning for there back in 09.

In fact it looks like they have got the stops just right too for a tourist train and im sure there may be space for some kind of 'open access' operator to fill in the stops between should they think it would work.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
14,667
Location
Mold, Clwyd
I doubt if they would invest in new coaching stock if they were going to run it into the ground dont you?

Having 3 per week may seem futile at the moment but im sure they will judge it after the first summer season to see if they have got their forcasts wrong but I know from my few trips on it and the works around Auckland it may be that they are not going to be guaranteed decent paths into the Britomart with the extra services they were planning for there back in 09.

In fact it looks like they have got the stops just right too for a tourist train and im sure there may be space for some kind of 'open access' operator to fill in the stops between should they think it would work.
My reading of the Kiwirail announcement is that they are merely repositioning new-ish stock from the South Island to the North Island so they can scrap the old stock.
"Tourist train" also sounds like big fat fares for undiscerning foreigners.

I did the Auckland-Wellington "Silver Fern" in the distant past, in the 2-car Budd railcar - great trip.
 

Greenback

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
9 Aug 2009
Messages
15,370
Location
Llanelli
My reading of the Kiwirail announcement is that they are merely repositioning new-ish stock from the South Island to the North Island so they can scrap the old stock.
"Tourist train" also sounds like big fat fares for undiscerning foreigners.

I did the Auckland-Wellington "Silver Fern" in the distant past, in the 2-car Budd railcar - great trip.
If they are only running three trains a week, then the fares will have to be high as they will still need to maintain the line but for fewer services. The economics would not make any sense otherwise.
 

DownSouth

Established Member
Joined
10 Dec 2011
Messages
1,545
If they are only running three trains a week, then the fares will have to be high as they will still need to maintain the line but for fewer services. The economics would not make any sense otherwise.
The NZ inter-regional system is mainly a freight railway. Having three longer passenger trains each way a week instead of six shorter ones is not going to make any difference on track wear, the majority of which will come from freight.
 

Greenback

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
9 Aug 2009
Messages
15,370
Location
Llanelli
The NZ inter-regional system is mainly a freight railway. Having three longer passenger trains each way a week instead of six shorter ones is not going to make any difference on track wear, the majority of which will come from freight.
And yet Clip says there is not much freight? I am even more confused now.

When I was there in 2005, it was said in New Zealand that passenger rail travel was dead outside the main conurbations (Auckland and Wellington) in North Island.

I can see that turning the Auckland - Wellington service into more of a toruist service, perhaps like Canada, might be worth a try, although I don't think 3 times a week will be any more of a success than a 6 or 7 times a week service.

What I can't see now is whether there is any freight running through the rather sparsely populated central section of the line.
 

DownSouth

Established Member
Joined
10 Dec 2011
Messages
1,545
"Tourist train" also sounds like big fat fares for undiscerning foreigners.
Tourist train simply means dropping any pretence that it's actually a useful transport service. Over 12 hours for what should be a 7 hour drive or one hour flight is not a useful form of transport.

Think along the lines of The Indian Pacific or The Overland in Australia - while they could technically be used as a form of transport, they aren't really that useful, but fares for the lowest service level are reasonable considering they offer significantly better comfort than air travel but journey times over ten times as bad.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
14,667
Location
Mold, Clwyd
And yet Clip says there is not much freight? I am even more confused now.

When I was there in 2005, it was said in New Zealand that passenger rail travel was dead outside the main conurbations (Auckland and Wellington) in North Island.

I can see that turning the Auckland - Wellington service into more of a toruist service, perhaps like Canada, might be worth a try, although I don't think 3 times a week will be any more of a success than a 6 or 7 times a week service.

What I can't see now is whether there is any freight running through the rather sparsely populated central section of the line.
I might be out of date, but wasn't there a significant business in container traffic?
Ship docks in Wellington, unloads NZ containers which are railed north to Auckland (or vv).
 

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,616
And yet Clip says there is not much freight? I am even more confused now.

.
Sorry I was alluding to the cutting back of freight and closure of some of the old freight lines themselves not just the main trunk connecting Auckland and Wellington. I really did struggle to see much when I was over there though in lots of places the transport of logging was mainly done by road which astounded me given they had closed down the lines that used to transport it.

My reading of the Kiwirail announcement is that they are merely repositioning new-ish stock from the South Island to the North Island so they can scrap the old stock.
"Tourist train" also sounds like big fat fares for undiscerning foreigners.
I dont remember the coaches being like that when I was there and that was over the summer of 2009/10 so they must have only just been intorduced when I left the southern island as they were still using the knackered old blue ones with a converted cattle truck(wasnt really but felt like it) as the rear observation coah
 

Greenback

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
9 Aug 2009
Messages
15,370
Location
Llanelli
Sorry I was alluding to the cutting back of freight and closure of some of the old freight lines themselves not just the main trunk connecting Auckland and Wellington. I really did struggle to see much when I was over there though in lots of places the transport of logging was mainly done by road which astounded me given they had closed down the lines that used to transport it.
Ah, right, when I was there people said the line was well used by north-south freight. I was surprised how many branches there seemed to be, some of those may well have closed now by the sound of it.
 

Railsigns

Established Member
Joined
15 Feb 2010
Messages
1,764
I dont remember the coaches being like that when I was there and that was over the summer of 2009/10 so they must have only just been intorduced when I left the southern island as they were still using the knackered old blue ones with a converted cattle truck(wasnt really but felt like it) as the rear observation coah
I was there at the end of February and travelled from south to north. The Coastal Pacific (South Island) had new coaches while the Overlander (North Island) had the old blue coaches. The Overlander only conveyed two ordinary seated coaches; the Coastal Pacific had four.
 

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,616
I was there at the end of February and travelled from south to north. The Coastal Pacific (South Island) had new coaches while the Overlander (North Island) had the old blue coaches. The Overlander only conveyed two ordinary seated coaches; the Coastal Pacific had four.

Yeah thats the ones they are replacing... only 2 seated coaches? madness.

mind you with flights between the two being so cheap and fast its no surprise is it.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top