Bluff rail link to open for gala weekend
The Bluff Branch rail link will once again carry passengers from Invercargill to Bluff, albeit briefly.
As part of a family gala weekend in Bluff on April 27-28, a Taieri railcar will carry passengers along the 27-kilometre route.
One of the first railways in New Zealand, the Bluff branch opened in 1867 and carried passengers until 1967, when all passenger services were cancelled.
Passenger trains briefly returned when the Kingston Flyer operated some services to Bluff between 1979 and 1982.
Organised by Bluff's Foveaux Pearls Leisure Marching Group, the train will run regular return trips from Invercargill to Bluff during the weekend.
The railcar will travel from Dunedin to Invercargill on April 26 and return after the gala weekend.
Dianne Blair, from Bluff's Foveaux Pearls Leisure Marching group, said once passengers reached Bluff they would be spoilt for choice with entertainment and activities for all ages.
Markets, buskers, children's rides and entertainment were planned, with other innovations being investigated.
The weekend would be a great way for families to spend part of the school holidays, Ms Blair said.
For rail buffs and those who remembered the days when rail travel was more prevalent, it was a touch of nostalgia. "For those who have not experienced rail travel before, it is an opportunity to enjoy something unique."
Bluff promotions officer Lindsay Beer said the railcar was one of the former Silver Fern railcars built in 1972 , which ran between Auckland and Wellington.
Tickets for the Invercargill-Bluff rail journey will go on sale this week from the Invercargill i-Site at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
Family (2 x adults, 2 x children) return – $150
Adult return – $75
Child (3-15) return – $30
Family one way – $100
Adult one way – $45
Child one way – $20
* plus $3 booking fee
The Southland Times