Explorer arrives late for first day on job

On its first day on the job the Northern Explorer was late for work, arriving at Palmerston North 20 minutes late.

The train service that has taken over from the Overlander promised a faster service, having dropped 12 stations from its Auckland-to-Wellington route, but left a few people standing on a windy platform waiting for travellers to disembark.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn was on board for the journey and said the extra minutes were accumulated around National Park.

"We lost about 15 minutes there, I'm not sure quite why, but I'm sure we'll make some of that time up and there are always a few teething problems."

The shiny new service sports a set of purpose-built carriages featuring large windows, and ceiling-mounted high definition screens with in-carriage display maps.

Passengers said they were impressed with the train and the journey had been comfortable.

"I'm on my way to Wellington to see my brother," said Andrew Sutcliffe, who boarded the train in Auckland. "I can't compare to the Overlander as I never travelled on that, but this is pretty good."

The Northern Explorer will run from Auckland on Monday, Thursday and Saturday and from Wellington on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

It will have a lay-over day on Wednesday for vehicle maintenance.

Ticket prices for the new service will range from $158 to $198.

Manawatu Standard