Tranz Scenic Rebrands


When KiwiRail’s Tranz Scenic passenger service between Christchurch and Picton resumes on August 15, it will run under a new name.
It will be Coastal Pacific, the name the train was given in the early stages of its inception.
Coastal Pacific is the name the train was known as from late 1980s until ‘TranzRail’ rebranded the name to TranzCoastal in 1997 to fit their own corporate identity.
KiwiRail’s Chief Executive Jim Quinn says the intention of the name change is to give the Coastal service a lift and an identity of its own, so it can come out of the shadow of the better known TranzAlpine service.
Mr Quinn says that while the decision to suspend the service following the Christchurch earthquake for almost six months was a difficult one, it minimised financial losses during the low season. He says KiwiRail has always been focused on resuming the service on 15 August, as promised.
“We know this rail journey is well regarded internationally and is a tourist attraction, and we have always wanted to provide confidence for our staff and the public and be part of the upswing in passenger numbers for the summer period and for Rugby World Cup.”


The new identity won’t be the only injection of life the service will receive, with the new AK purpose built scenic carriages being introduced on the line later this year.
KiwiRail’s Hillside Workshop is completing the new carriages, which feature 52 square metres of glass in panoramic side and roof windows, ceiling mounted HD screens, GPS triggered commentary in a choice of five languages, and new café cars.




  1. Carl says:

    I like the name, reminds me of the Indian Pacific train.

  2. Giel says:

    Not a bad name but the name received an extremely bad rap from Michael Palin in his Full Circle doco in 1994 as being inappropriate name for the train. Also the name had lots of bad PR baggage in 1990′s due to Morgan Jones incident (little boy who fell from train and was blinded after failure of carriage handrail).

    This amongst other reasons is why the name was dumped by Tranz Rail - not as they claim to just be part of the “Tranz” brand. However it was seen that the TranzAlpine was succesful and they also wanted to emulate that back then so that was used as an excuse in some quarters. Seems to be little Corporate history knowledge in KR these days or maybe its just PR spin. Never the less it may work this time and good to see an effort being made.

    Shame new carriages aren’t put in for new launch - may be very close to it though!!

  3. tim says:

    I agree… the name is lacklustre and rather derivative. Why not have a competition to choose something innovative and a bit more memorable?

  4. Martin says:

    Costal Pacific is an AMTRAC brand I think

  5. Giel says:

    Martin - Amtrak train that covers the Pacific Coast is called the “Coast Starlight” which runs from Los Angeles via San Francisco to Seattle over about 36 Hours.

    Good names - the “Whale Rider Express” or “WhaleWay Express” sic Whale = Rail for Kaikouras Railway station is called the Whaleway Station for the Whale Watch or maybe “Mountain Surf Express” or maybe others - I can think of many better than the previously dumped “Coastal Pacific”

  6. Antz says:

    Or at least just the “Pacifica Express”

  7. Carl says:

    Tasman Pacific, Great Southern Link, Southern Coast to Coast.

    Or something to do with Abel Tasman, Capt. Cook, but also have a maori twist to it.

    @ Antz don’t think there is anything express about it, doesn’t it stop along the way?


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