Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
The Provincial Growth Fund’s (PGF) investment in upgrading KiwiRail’s TranzAlpine rail experience is making strong progress, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said in Greymouth today.
“KiwiRail expects the increased passenger capacity and upgraded services they can provide using the PGF’s investment will bring another 37,000 passengers to the West Coast annually by 2027,” Shane Jones said.
“This means passenger spending is forecast to double to $80.3 million by that date. By then the service is also expected to support 290 jobs on the West Coast.
“These are exactly the sort of great results we wanted from our investment, which will provide additional carriages to increase capacity, a new premium carriage to support a new premium service for high-value tourists, an improved reservation system, greater luggage capacity able to accommodate more tourists travelling with bicycles, and upgrades of station platforms at Greymouth, Arthur’s Pass and Christchurch.
“Work will start on the Greymouth platform upgrade in November and be completed in early 2020. KiwiRail is also expecting to issue requests for proposals for the premium carriages for the TranzAlpine and the Coastal Pacific within coming weeks. The new premium service will be unveiled at the annual tourism trade show TRENZ next year. All of the upgrades funded by the PGF investment are expected to be operational in 2022.
“These results show what can be achieved if we invest effectively in both our transport infrastructure and our regions. The potential to be realised in our regional communities is immense. Consistent targeted support from the PGF gives communities the ability realise that potential.
“Currently, KiwiRail, with the support of the PGF investment, is also looking at the feasibility of a Hokitika to Westport scenic rail service. They expect the results from that study later this year. If viable, this will be another option for the economic development of this region,” Shane Jones said.