fbpx Trains in New Zealand | LEARNZ

Trains in New Zealand

The Rail Network
Safety Around Trains

In New Zealand trains are used to transport both freight and people.

Urban passenger trains

Wellington and Auckland are the only cities with an urban rail network. This means thousands of passengers can travel between suburbs and the central city.

Long distance passenger trains

KiwiRail operates long-distance passenger trains. These include:

  • The Northern Explorer (Wellington to Auckland)
  • The Tranz Alpine (Christchurch to Greymouth)
  • The Coastal Pacific (Christchurch to Picton).

Freight trains

Every week over 900 freight trains move around the country. These trains carry freight and goods.

Electric trains

All electric rail is in the North Island and includes:

  • The Wellington Metro Line
  • 65% of the North Island Main Trunk Line NIMT
  • The Auckland Metro Line.

The Auckland Metro Line opened in 2015 and runs from Swanson in the west to Papakura in the south. This line is helping to reduce road traffic in Auckland.

Train Control

The Train Control Centre is in Wellington. All of New Zealand’s trains are controlled from here. Trains are located using GPS and tracked so train controllers can manage signal changes.

Upgrading New Zealand's Rail Network

The government will spend one billion dollars on KiwiRail. This includes:

  • $375 million for new wagons and engines
  • $331 million on track and service upgrades
  • $300 million for the development of rail in small regions
  • and $35 million to replace two ferries.

The Auckland City Rail Link also has funding. This link will be equal to 16 extra lanes of traffic into the city centre.

The railway is private property

Railway tracks and rail yards are private property. You are not allowed to:

  • Cross railway tracks anywhere other than on an official level crossing.
  • Enter railway property without permission.

Ready for a quiz? Try the 'Trains in New Zealand' activity.

Audio Māori keywords: 

Do you think it is important for the government to spend money on our rail network and why do you think this?

KiwiRail manages long distance passenger and freight trains in New Zealand. Image: TrackSAFE.

There are three main tourist trains in New Zealand, including the TranzAlpine. Image: TrackSAFE.

Wellington has a suburban rail network providing public transport on electric trains. Image: TrackSAFE.

Auckland also has a metro link which opened in 2015 offering public transport in Auckland. Image: TrackSAFE.

The Rail Network
Safety Around Trains