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Broadcast on Manawatu People's Radio, 7th May 2024.  Late 1880s travel between Wellington and Auckland was train to New Plymouth, ship to Onehunga and local train to Auckland. First through train using the main trunk line was 1909. Two trains each way each night – Limited and Express Mail van on the express transported and sorted mail for stations en route. Trains had first class and second class carriages and a sleeping car. Could hire pillows. Disabled people not catered for. Frequent stops for refreshments and fuelling steam locomotives. Limited express train replaced by Silver Star overnight train using diesel locomotives in 1971. Single and double cabins. Seats converted to beds. Built-in toilet units. Every carriage had an attendant who would look after passenger needs and serve breakfast on a tray. Trains had a dining car for evening meals and beverages.  Air travel became more popular during 1970s. Silver Star patronage declined and Silver Star stopped in 1979. Plans to convert Silver Star to a ‘seats only’ daytime train didn’t work so some carriages were sold to Malaysia. 


Object type
May 7, 2024


Community Tags
oral history,
silver star,

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