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Heaviest Snows for Years; TranzAlpine Gets Through

In the Heaviest Snows for Years, the TranzAlpine Still Gets Through

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This photo taken as the TranzAlpine moved through Cass Bank on Friday shows the extent of the snowfalls. Further snow fell before the Saturday run. Picture by Train Attendant Scott Eastwick.

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Despite snow falls which were reportedly the heaviest in many years, the TranzAlpine train ran every day between Christchurch and Greymouth over the last few days. Closed roads such as Arthurs Pass disrupted many travellers and freight vehicles, yet the tracks were cleared and the trains running.

"We saw many extra passenger bookings," comments Tony McManus, South Island Passenger Services Manager for Tranz Scenic. "Instead of being stranded in their cars, they were treated to beautiful scenery with even more of an Alpine feel then usual."

Early on Friday the track was inspected and cleared for trains. On Saturday morning two locomotives each left Christchurch and Greymouth, pushing past the snow and checking the track was clear. The special services even took track staff who could not access the line any other way, according to KiwiRail spokesman Nigel Parry.

"The special effort by KiwiRail drivers and other staff made sure the trains got through," adds Mr Parry. "Freight services were also on the move each day once the track was confirmed as clear."


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