17th November 2009
An excellent booking response for the “Endeavour Express” scenic train excursion from Napier to Gisborne and return on Saturday 21st November has forced the heritage train operator, Steam Incorporated, to run a second train on Sunday 22nd November.
Excursion Organiser, John Bovis said they “were thrilled with the response”. There were still eighty seats left on the extra Sunday train, but he expected that it would be near full by the weekend. The Saturday train only had a handful of seats left.
He hoped that the excursions would showcase to the local community what a great rail asset they had. There was tremendous potential for scenic tourist trains in New Zealand as demonstrated by the highly successful “Tranz Alpine” and “Taieri Gorge Limited” trains in the South Island. The Tranz Alpine now carries half a million passengers a year. The scenery on the Napier Gisborne line rivaled that of the South Island train routes.
When making bookings many passengers had commented “that travelling over this line was something they had wanted to do for years”. A significant number were travelling to Napier specifically to travel on the train.
Mr Bovis commented that they already had some excursions planned for the Napier to Gisborne line for next year and based on the interest shown would be evaluating running more regular trips on the line.
Planned trips on the Napier to Gisborne line already included the shorter steam hauled excursions to Wairoa and Waikoau as part of the annual Art Deco Weekend activities, a special steam train for an overseas tour group and a run to Gisborne featuring a newly restored vintage diesel locomotive.
On Saturday and Sunday the “Endeavour Express” departs Napier for Gisborne at 8am and arrives back just after 9pm. The train will use heritage carriages and be hauled by a KiwiRail diesel locomotive.
Steam Incorporated was one of the first rail preservation organisations to operate its own trains on the main line from the early 1980’s, and is now a fully licensed main line operator, using primarily heritage equipment.
More information: http://http://www.steaminc.org.nz