The West Coast Line is currently a freight line carrying coal and dairy products. The study will investigate the track upgrades required to make it suitable for passenger trains, as well as the cost of locomotives, coaches and maintenance facilities needed to operate the daily service.
The current TranzAlpine service between Christchurch and Greymouth is often oversubscribed, national operator KiwiRail chief executive, Mr Peter Reidy says, and the railway is investigating other possibilities to boost tourist services in the South Island.
“It’s about exploring the potential of a rail service to build on existing tourism offerings and create opportunities for new businesses and jobs for locals,” Reidy says. “The feasibility study will include working with local tourism operators and transport providers to develop and test potential packages and itineraries for passengers.”