KiwiRail Scenic Railways (formally TranzScenic) operate the two train journeys that connect Christchurch to both Picton at the top of the South Island, and Greymouth on the West Coast.
Christchurch to Picton Train
The Coastal Pacific train connects Christchurch to Picton. This scenic train journey takes you from Christchurch and the Canterbury plains, along picturesque coastline and the marine wildlife at Kaikoura, the vineyards and cellar doors at Blenheim and onto Picton and the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds and North Island. The train also stops off at Rangiora, Waipara, Mina, and Seddon.
The journey takes approximately 5 hours 15 minutes, includes a cafe and an observation carriage. The trains leave daily at 7.00am. The Coastal Pacific Christchurch to Picton train runs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from late September to late April.
Christchurch to Greymouth Train
The TranzAlpine train is one of the world's great scenic railway journeys. The four and half hour journey travels through Arthur's Pass National Park to Greymouth, allowing passengers to enjoy the majestic Southern Alp scenery from the comfort of their seats.
The TranzAlpine departs at 8:15am on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, arriving at Greymouth at 12.45pm. It takes about 2 and half hours to reach Arthur's Pass. Going the other way, the train departs Greymouth at 13.45 arriving at Christchurch at about 6.00pm. The train includes a cafe bar and a viewing carriage in the middle of the train.
A number of shuttle buses await either end to transport you (at a relatively low cost) into the respective city centres. Passengers are advised to arrive at least 20 minutes before departure. Read full details of the journey in our 'On Board The Tranz Alpine Railway' travel article.