Following an increasing number of potential safety incidents on KiwiRail’s Great Journeys of New Zealand scenic rail services, our outdoor viewing carriages will be closed from 9 March while a safety solution is found.
KiwiRail’s Group General Manager of Zero Harm, Katie McMahon, says while the carriages have been in use for the past 10 years, in recent months an increasing number of passengers have placed themselves and others in danger by leaning out of the carriage to take photographs.
“Despite the number of signs and announcements on board our trains pointing out the dangers of this, KiwiRail have seen passengers leaning out with selfie sticks, ipads and their bodies often unaware of an approaching tunnel which could cause a tragic incident for themselves and others in the carriage.
“Outdoor carriages like these are predominantly used internationally on heritage or very slow moving trains. Our award-winning Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine trains travel through beautiful often windy topography. We are a hilly country that requires a lot of tunnels.
“We know some of our passengers will be disappointed that they will not be able to use these outdoor carriages while a solution is found. We offer our heartfelt apologies, but cannot risk a safety incident like this at any time.”
KiwiRail will continue to tow the carriages as the train’s generator which powers train systems such as lighting, refrigeration and air-conditioning carried onboard. Passengers, however, will not be allowed into them.
Finally, KiwiRail apologise for the short notification and for any inconvenience that the change to this service may cause.