New carriages debut on South Island's rails
Thursday 3 Nov 2011 12:51 p.m.
By Kloe Palmer
Train carriages designed and built in New Zealand are back on the tracks for the first time in 70 years.
The brand new scenic carriages have extra large windows and state of the art technology and have entered service on the coastal pacific route between Christchurch and Picton.
They took two years to build in Dunedin's historic hillside workshops, for the high end tourist market.
“We are only having 17 carriages, that's a kind of amount that New Zealand can cope quite well with, they are quite a boutique product so the care and attention we have been able to put into them is great,” says KiwiRail’s Deborah Hume.
Flat screen televisions and GPS triggered commentary in five languages keeps the travellers informed, and down below, there are suspension air bags for a smooth ride.
“It's wonderful, a whole new world for us it's basically brought us from the 19th into the 21st century,” says train manager Duncan Brown.
The South Island prides itself on scenery, so the extra large windows are perfect for passengers.
Right now there are three of the new carriages in service but another 14 are on the way and they will all stay in the scenic South Island.