The Overlander rail service between Wellington and Auckland today becomes the 'Northern Explorer', losing 12 small town stops along the way.

Levin is one of the scrapped stops, with many locals unhappy their town has been wiped off KiwiRail's map.

Levin resident Ray Larsen believes the move will eventually spell the end of the Wellington to Auckland connection.

"They say it's for the tourists only. I think that when they don't get as many tourists on it as they think they might, I think this is the beginning of the end of the Overlander.''

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Mr Larsen is disappointed he and wife June can no longer catch the train to visit family further north.