digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

This article is about the former Auckland to Wellington train. For the New York to Miami train, see Silver Star (Amtrak train).
DX 2608 (now DXB 5097) hauling the Silver Star during the 1970s.

The Silver Star was a luxury passenger train that ran overnight between Auckland and Wellington on the North Island Main Trunk railway of New Zealand. The train ran from Monday, 6 September 1971 until Sunday, 8 June 1979. It replaced the Night Limited express passenger trains, which provided a faster service than the "Ordinary" Expresses by stopping at only six intermediate stations en route and not dragging postal or parcels vans at the rear. Designed as a "hotel on wheels", its carriages were distinctive in New Zealand; rather than being painted in the traditional red, the Silver Star's carriages were made of stainless steel, and silver in appearance.

Introduction[edit]

The train was NZR's attempt to compete with the introduction of jet aircraft for business traffic between Auckland and Wellington. The service broke new ground in New Zealand by providing a full on-board crew of car stewards (sourced from the inter-island rail ferry service) who doubled as dining car staff at meal times. However, the product was effectively ten years too late. Travel by National Airways Corporation 737 took just over one hour; the Silver Star, by contrast, took around 12 hours and 30 minutes. While popular at holiday times, and despite providing the overnight hotel option for travellers, it simply could not attract enough passengers willing to pay a premium to travel by train between the two cities.

Demise[edit]

New Zealand Railways at the time also ran another overnight train service, (the Night Limited) which stopped at more than double the stations of the Silver Star, which had much older (1930s/1940s-built) rolling stock, and which had no on-board buffet service, but had cheaper fares (and three classes of accommodation). By refurbishing this train in 1975, which became the Northerner, many rail passengers preferred to pay around 33% less for a large reclining seat or 15% less for a 2-berth sleeper cabin without shower or toilet, than pay for a Silver Star cabin - more upmarket travellers simply preferred to fly.

Rolling stock and motive power[edit]

The 31 coaches were manufactured by Hitachi and Nippon Sharyo and hauled by diesel locomotives (initially two DA class locomotives, and later one DX class) for a six-night-a-week service. All passengers were carried in sleeping cars, with 12 being eight two-berth (incorporating separate bathrooms with showers for each cabin) "Twinette" and 12 being 16 single-berth (with toilet/basin facilities) "Roomette" cars. Passengers could purchase dinner, breakfast and other refreshments including alcoholic beverages and souvenirs in the buffet car, of which three were built, with 42 alcove-style tables. Four power-baggage vans completed the consists.

Bogies[edit]

All 31 cars ran on bogies of a newer design, classed X28250 by NZR, which offered a superior quality ride, through better absorption of inertial dampers and better suspension, and bore a resemblance to the Kinki-Sharyo -manufactured bogies, classed X27250 by NZR, under steam vans and postal vans built by Kinki. The bogies built especially for the Northerner trains four years later and the FM - class vans two to six years after that, classed X28280, were heavily modeled after those under the Star cars.

Replacement[edit]

The Railways Department attempted to replace the Northerner and Silver Star with a refurbished Silver Star which would be a 50% seating and 50% sleeper train, redeploy eight 30-seat cars from the Northerner rolling stock on the Wellington - Napier service, and relocate the three 32-seat and three 36-seat Endeavour cars to the Christchurch - Picton route, but these plans came to nothing after the Silver Star stock was withdrawn from service and blue asbestos insulation was found inside the coaches. The relevant union refused to work with the dangerous material, and the carriages lay parked in sidings for over ten years while their future was debated. Options included continuing with the refurbishment and using the trains on a double daily service (both overnight and daylight) to improve utilisation and enabling the train's externally similarly-styled daytime equivalent, Silver Fern railcars, to be redeployed on other routes. However, the government baulked at the cost (which was estimated at being over $20 million to refurbish the train) given a large budget deficit and public debt, so decided against funding the refurbishment plan.

In December 1987, the Wellington-based Silver Star cars were hauled to Auckland, where private tourist firm Pacific Trailways intended to convert 27 passenger cars into a luxury tourist train that would travel around both the North and South Islands for NZ$1000. Nothing eventuated and all the cars languished in Auckland for two more years.

In 1990, the 31 cars were purchased by the British luxury travel company, Orient Express Trains & Cruises (of Orient-Express Hotels) and taken to A & G Price, of Thames, for regauging from New Zealand's 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) gauge for Thai and Malaysian railway lines. 24 cars (19 sleepers, three buffet cars and two power vans) went to Singapore where an extensive internal rebuild and fit-out as well as exterior painting and badging on was undertaken by the new owners at their (then) newly constructed maintenance depot on KTMB land in Singapore's Keppel Road rail yards. A 25th car also went to Singapore, and was stored unrefurbished for some years, but was scrapped when the E&OE moved its engineering workshop from Singapore to Johor. Since then the refurbished consist has, along with non-Silver Star stock, operated a regular 5-star luxury cruise-train service between Singapore and Bangkok as the Eastern & Oriental Express.

Six cars remain at A & G Price - two double sleepers, two single sleepers and two power vans. All are owned by Orient-Express Trains & Cruises. They have had their interiors stripped, asbestos removed, and are no longer on bogies. They have been for sale since December 2012.

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Star_(NZR_train) — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
120 videos foundNext > 

S Scale NZR Da1405 on Silver Star

Da1405 on Silver Star at work on Hamilton Model Railway club show at Morrinsville 22/04/2012.

silver star at hamilton train station

a HHP-8 leading the train.

NZR S Scale Dx2608

NZR S Scale heading silver star on Hamilton NZR layout at Cambridge show 2013-04-04.

NZ120, Silver Fern & Dora Trains

Silver Fern & Dora Trains on the NZ120 Layouts.

Rail 150: Silver Fern Railcar & Ja 1240 Homecoming excursion (HD)

On Thursday 24th October 2013 two special items of motive power headed to Christchurch for the NZ Rail150 celebrations. The first was Dunedin silverfern rail...

George's Papakura to Huntly Layout

NZR Model Railway in S Scale.

Showing Multiple Trains Downtown Auckland NZ

Showing Multiple Trains Downtown Auckland NZ Jeff Phillips (c) 2013 - Enjoy! The Home Utility Project and HTA Program examples. http://jeffphillips2000.tripo...

Silver Shadow Shorex: Taieri Train Gorge Railway

A "gorgeous" train trip from Dunedin, New Zealand, on a half-day excursion that began pierside and took us past some of the country's best scenery.

S Scale NZR Model Railways

S Scale NZR Model railways J1214 on passenger train and Di1104 and 1102 on goods train as seen on the Hamilton model railway club layout at the Hamilton gard...

NZR Model Railway. Tranz Scenic & 56'ers

DFT & DXB Haul through NIMT somewhere towards the middle ;) Not so prototypical.. NZ120 or narrow gauge on n scale track.

120 videos foundNext > 

We're sorry, but there's no news about "Silver Star (NZR train)" right now.

Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Silver Star (NZR train)

You can talk about Silver Star (NZR train) with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!