TranzAlpine, New Zealand

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The TranzAlpine is a passenger train operated by KiwiRail Scenic Journeys in the South Island of New Zealand, often regarded to be one of the world's great train journeys for the scenery through which it passes. The journey is 223 kilometres (139 mi) one-way, taking about four and a half hours. There are 19 tunnels and four viaducts, with Staircase Viaduct being 73 metres (240 ft) high.

TranzAlpine, New Zealand
TranzAlpine, New Zealand

The train was introduced 22 November 1987 to replace the conventional Christchurch-Greymouth express trains, and became one of the New Zealand Railways Corporation's 'new' tourist oriented passenger services utilising refurbished rolling stock. Accompanying this new-look train were a new-look livery and rebranding.

TranzAlpine, New Zealand

From late 1982 until 1983, 12 second class NZR 56-foot carriages, three with luggage compartments at one end, were refurbished with new "Supervent" windows, fluorescent strip lights, wall-to-wall carpet, and later still, new seats designed by Addington Workshops were introduced to replace the former articulated diesel-hauled Grass Grub carriages.

TranzAlpine, New Zealand
TranzAlpine, New Zealand

A matching 56 foot van and six 50 foot wooden bogie box wagons for parcels completed the consist. Some of these wagons had served in the same capacity and in the green colour scheme with the Grass Grubs on the Picton and Greymouth routes and one wagon had served the old yellow Northerner as a parcels van, prior to the introduction of the twelve 56' cars.

TranzAlpine, New Zealand
TranzAlpine, New Zealand

The TranzAlpine's popularity increased, and on days the Southerner was not operating it was common to see these cars bolstering the three hard-pressed TranzAlpine cars. In 1991, a Southerner power-luggage van had the end module away from the handbrake end converted into an open viewing area for passengers to enhance the already spectacular scenery on the route.

TranzAlpine, New Zealand
TranzAlpine, New Zealand

In 1995, the viewing van had its second end module converted for public access to match the first end. This was to facilitate its being marshalled into the centre of the new train, which was now re-organised into two four-car trainsets in one, separated by the power/baggage van. To compensate for luggage on the reformed train, the original TranzAlpine van was stripped of its generator and made to carry luggage only.

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