KiwiRail to move Silver Fern to Christchurch

Dunedin's Silver Fern rail car crosses the causeway at Blanket Bay, with Otago Peninsula's...
Dunedin's Silver Fern rail car. PHOTO: GEOFFREY WHITE
The Silver Fern rail car will find a new home in Christchurch when it is handed back to KiwiRail next month.

KiwiRail - which had leased the rail car to Dunedin Railways, initially on a one-year deal, in 2012 - had exercised its right to have its equipment returned, it was reported last week.

The railcar, RM24, would be handed back to KiwiRail in early June, once it had completed the last of a series of rail tours beyond Dunedin's borders.

KiwiRail sales and commercial group general manager Alan Piper said a need for the rail car had been identified following a review of KiwiRail's tourism business.

It would be relocated to Christchurch "in order to support and add resilience" as a back-up to its "sister vehicle" RM30, including conducting charter operations in the South Island when needed, he said.

Dunedin Railways chief executive Craig Osbourne said earlier this week the rail car's departure from Dunedin would be an "operational challenge", but plans to fill the gap were already being developed.

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