The central New Zealand North Island town of Taihape is back on the railway map. Dropped from the train timetable in 2005 due to falling numbers, Taihape will be reinstated from the 23rd October, following renewed interest and growing passenger numbers on the Overlander.
"After careful consideration of the potential passenger numbers for a Taihape stop on the Overlander, we have decided to include Taihape as a scheduled stop," comments Tranz Scenic marketing manager, Richard Keenan.
"We have been impressed with Taihape's commitment to regular train services, including enthusiasm for events and attractions which will add to the appeal of Taihape as a destination. We have also seen increasing passenger numbers on the Overlander."
Those passenger numbers grew by over 25% in just 18 months, prompting Tranz Scenic to bring peak seven day services forward to September rather than the usual December. "Passengers are responding, with a 70% jump in numbers from last year over the school holidays just gone," adds Mr Keenan. "We are also seeing renewed interest in all our scenic services, and in visits to heartland New Zealand by train."
Commenting on the return of Taihape as a scheduled stop for the Overlander, Taihape Community Development Trust manager Elizabeth Mortland commented; "Fantastic. Really wonderful news."
The regular northbound service will arrive at 11:21am, and the southbound at 3:03pm, with a scheduled 2 minute stop to allow for passengers to board, disembark, and for luggage handling. Services will start on Friday 23rd October 2009, and run initially as a one year trial period
"We look forward to working with the town to make Taihape a successful permanent stop on the Overlander journey," Richard Keenan says.
More information on The Overlander is available from www.tranzscenic.co.nz.