Open-air carriages on train discontinued after selfie ‘near misses’

Open-air carriages on scenic New Zealand train will be taken out of service after several selfie ‘near misses’ involving passengers leaning out to take photographs

  • Passengers have been putting themselves in danger on board KiwiRail services
  • The decision to take the carriages out of service came after a review
  • KiwiRail said ‘we have seen passengers leaning out with selfie sticks and iPads’

Open-air observation carriages on a New Zealand train that trundles through some of the country’s most scenic landscapes will be discontinued – because of several selfie ‘near misses’.

Passengers have apparently been putting themselves in danger on board the service, run by KiwiRail and called Great Journeys of New Zealand, by leaning out to take snaps.

The decision to take the carriages out of service came after a review carried out over several months.

Open-air observation carriages on KiwiRail services will be discontinued – because of several selfie ‘near misses’. Pictured is a KiwiRail TranszAlpine scenic train passing through Arthur’s Pass National Park

Katie McMahon, the rail service’s ‘Director of Zero Harm’, told CNN Travel in a statement: ‘A review carried out over recent months revealed an increasing number of passengers putting themselves and others in danger by leaning out of the carriage to take photographs.

‘Despite the number of signs and announcements on board our trains pointing out the dangers of this, we have seen passengers leaning out with selfie sticks, iPads and their bodies, often unaware of an approaching tunnel which could cause a tragic incident for themselves, and others in the carriage.’

The Great Journeys of New Zealand operation comprises three ‘iconic’ trains – Coastal Pacific (between Picton and Christchurch), Northern Explorer (between Auckland and Wellington) and TranzAlpine (between Christchurch and Greymouth).

The Coastal Pacific returned on December 1 after a two-year hiatus following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

The season wrapped up on Sunday April 28.

The New Zealand Government has invested $40million to introduce new premium carriages on the Coastal Pacific, as well as make it a year-round service.

KiwiRail said: ‘Despite the number of signs and announcements on board our trains pointing out the dangers… we have seen passengers leaning out with selfie sticks, iPads and their bodies’

KiwiRail said that during the Coastal Pacific season, passengers consumed nearly 22,000 cups of tea and coffee, nearly 5,000 bottles of wine (with Delegat Sauvignon Blanc the top choice) and 4,568 bottles of beer (Monteith’s Golden Lager was the most popular option for beer drinkers).

They also got through 5,788 sandwiches (with ham, cheese and egg the most popular filling), 1,774 pies, 1,077 cheese platters and nearly 6,000 ice creams (the best-seller was raspberry and white chocolate). In addition, more than 700 roast chicken meals were eaten.

The Coastal Pacific will return on September 27, 2019. 

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