Train lifeline for West Coast could be curbed

The TranzAlpine runs from Christchurch to Greymouth. Photo: ODT files
The TranzAlpine runs from Christchurch to Greymouth. Photo: ODT files
The TranzAlpine passenger train looks set to run over winter - but possibly only two days a week.

The train - a lifeline for Greymouth businesses - is scheduled to run Friday to Monday until mid-April.

Greymouth Mayor Tania Gibson met with State-owned KiwiRail last week to discuss its winter timetable, and said it was considering moving to Thursdays and Fridays, rather than weekends.

KiwiRail was open to changing the schedule in the school holidays, and may consider a return of the cut-price $75 fares, which were wildly popular after lockdown last year.

But overall, the mayor said she was "very disappointed".

KiwiRail felt Thursdays and Fridays were its busiest days, but Mrs Gibson said she would have liked more days, plus weekends.

The State-owned enterprise had received a lot of Government money from The Provincial Growth Fund, she said.

While she understood things were hard with the international borders still closed, they were hard for others too, "and they're Government-owned".

Bookings are currently open for travel until April 19.

In response, KiwiRail said it was finalising the details of its winter timetables and pricing.

"We have been offering substantial discounts on the services, and will continue to do so ahead of the return of international travellers," a spokesman said. 

The TranzAlpine runs from Christchurch to Greymouth.

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