Lynx Express

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Lynx Express
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Terminated
Locale South Island, New Zealand
First service December 19, 1994 (1994-12-19)
Last service 1995 (1995)
Former operator(s) InterCity Rail
Start Picton
Stops Blenheim, Kaikoura
End Christchurch
Distance travelled 348 kilometres (216 mi)
Average journey time 5 hours 5 minutes (south), 5 hours 3 minutes (north)
Line(s) used Main North Line
Track owner(s) Tranz Rail

The Lynx Express was a long-distance passenger train in the South Island of New Zealand that ran the length of the Main North Line between Picton and Christchurch. The service was operated by New Zealand Rail Limited business unit InterCity Rail.


In 1994, New Zealand Rail began The Lynx fast ferry service as part of the Interisland Line, with the 74-metre Incat catamaran HSC Condor 10 being leased for that summer from Condor Ferries. It provided a faster alternative to the conventional ferries MV Aratika and DEV Arahura. To complement the faster ferry, a passenger train from Picton to Christchurch and return was introduced. Named the Lynx Express, it debuted on Monday, 19 December 1994, and unlike the Coastal Pacific, it ran beyond Picton railway station to and from the ferry terminal.[1] The Coastal Pacific Express, connecting with the conventional ferries, ran from Christchurch to Picton and back.

Two cars from the original Southerner, later used on the Northerner, were rebuilt to the same specification as the new TranzAlpine cars. They seated 50 each in seats designed for the Wairarapa Connection and Northerner/Overlander, alcove-style with tables, had panoramic windows and were air-conditioned. Along with these cars, the consist included the recently refurbished former Southerner, later Northerner and finally an InterCity spare buffet car with 24 seats and tables arranged alcove-style, and a Daewoo modular former Auckland suburban van turned power and baggage van, with a new 90-kW generator.

Despite the improved accommodation on the newer train as opposed to the Coastal Pacific and its faster timetable, with only two intermediate stops, at Blenheim and Kaikoura, it failed to attract sufficient revenue, and when the Condor 10 returned for the 1995–96 summer the service was not resumed.[1]


On 23 December 1994, just a few days after its introduction, the Picton-bound Lynx Express was involved in accident at a level crossing with State Highway 1 north of Omihi. A car illegally tried to cross in front of the train and was struck, resulting in the death of one of the car's occupants. The car's driver and another occupant suffered serious injuries.[2]

See also[edit]


  • Young, Victor; Churchman, Geoffrey (2009). "Boat Trains". Strait Crossing: The ferries of Cook Strait through time. Wellington: transpress NZ. ISBN 978-1-877418-11-2.