Toll NZ buys back Tranz Scenic passenger services

Toll NZ -- formerly Tranz Rail -- today said it had bought back the 50 per cent share in long distance passenger division Tranz Scenic which was sold off to Australia's West Coast Railway in 2001.

Toll NZ chief executive David Jackson said the decision by Toll NZ which had retained 50 per cent of Tranz Scenic followed "a full review of all the interests Toll Holdings acquired following the partial takeover of Tranz Rail last year".

"Our assessment was that it made sound strategic and operational business sense to regain full ownership of Tranz Scenic," Mr Jackson said in a statement.

The Tranz Scenic business consists of the Northerner and Overlander between Auckland and Wellington, the Capital Connection between Wellington and Palmerston North, the Tranz Coastal between Picton and Christchurch and the Tranz Alpine between Christchurch and the West Coast.

Toll NZ said it would "continue to review all these services".

Early last year when Toll Holdings was progressing with its partial takeover of Tranz Rail, chief executive Paul Little said his company was primarily interested in Tranz Rail's freight services and did not wish to operate passenger services.

However the company appears to have substantially altered its point of view. Earlier this year Toll told the Wellington Regional Council it was committed to ownership and operation of Wellington regional commuter service Tranz Metro.

Half of Tranz Scenic was sold to West Coast Railway shareholders Don Gibson and Gary McDonald for $33 million in 2001.

The pair formed a 50:50 venture which will took over Tranz Scenic's operations.

- NZPA

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