The Silver Star
was a luxury passenger train that ran overnight between Auckland
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.
The train was NZR
's attempt to compete with the introduction of jet aircraft for business traffic between Auckland
. 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.
New Zealand Railways at the time also ran another overnight train... Read More