Kiwirail has announced that it is going to give the Auckland/Wellington Overlander train service a complete makeover. Not before time.
In theory this train journey should be one of the world's great train trips, if for no other reason that the engineering marvels needed to build it.
The massive viaducts necessary to bridge the central North Island's hill country for example. And the famous Raurimu Spiral . . . it was a world first in railway engineering, creating a track layout that literally crossed its own tracks.
The service has suffered from dodgy old carriages, some of them over 60 years old that have been given once -over-lightly refurbishment - and that some years ago,.
The new carriages are being poached from the Coastal Pacific route between Picton and Christchurch. They have large viewing windows for a better customer experience. The onboard crew will have new uniforms, there'll be a new menu and the journey will be faster because they have reduced the number of stops.
Let's face it with air fares AKL/WLG as cheap as $39 nobody is going to use the train as a way of getting from A to B. It's only future is as a tourist attraction and that means ramping up the whole experience package.
Got to say, on past performance, I don't hold out much hope, but, hey, these are new days, new management, and hopefully a more creative approach to creating great new product.
It starts a three-time a week run in each direction from June 25.