Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to some common questions from our travellers.

How can I book?
We have several methods available.  Online via the link on this website or using the Bookit online booking app on our facebook page; by phone 0800 783 264; or download a booking form and either post or email it to the addresses shown on it.  

How can I pay?
If booking online then by credit card only.  If booking direct with us in addition to using a credit card you could also pay via internet banking, cheque or making a deposit at a BNZ branch. 

Is there a discount for Gold Card holders?
Sorry, no. 

Is there a child fare?
We offer a child fare for children under 13 years old.  However there is no charge for infants under two years sitting on an adult’s lap and not occupying a seat. 

Do you send out tickets?
If you booked online we will email your seating details and an information update about the excursion about 7 to 10 days beforehand.  You will also receive a confirmation email immediately after making your booking.

If you booked direct with us we will mail out a paper ticket plus a trip update about two weeks before the trip.

What type of carriages do you have?
Our carriage fleet is made up of restored heritage carriages.  Many are over 100 years old with open end balconies.  Others were built in the early 30’s to early 40’s and still retain their original appearance.  Two cars have modernised interiors with carpet and fabric upholstered seats.  There is no division into different fare classes for the above carriages.  You can request your seating preference when booking although we will not always be able to guarantee that your preference will be granted.

A new addition to fleet is lounge car which is being marketed as “Gold Class”.  A fare surcharge   will apply to travel in this carriage. 

What is the seating arrangement?
Most seats are configured in a 2 x 2 arrangement.  That is two seats on either side of a central aisle.  Apart from the end bulkhead seats the remainder are reversible to either face the direction of travel or to face other travellers in your group.

Are seats on the train reserved?
Yes for day excursions seating is preallocated.  For very short rides (less than an hour) we are not likely to reserve seats. 

Are the seats wooden?
No.  All seats are padded.  For a long trip you are welcome to bring your own cushion for extra comfort. 

Does the train have toilets?
Yes, most carriages have a toilet at one end.  If a particular carriage does not then there will be a toilet in the adjacent carriage.  The toilet cubicles are compact.  They may be used during station stops.

Can I move about the train?
Yes, Passengers are welcome to move from car to car.  However, care must be exercised when moving between cars, no bare feet and children must be accompanied by an adult.  Standing on the gangways between carriages is not allowed.  Restrictions on moving about the train while passing through tunnels may apply. 

Can I buy food on the train?
Yes, there is a buffet counter usually positioned near the centre of the train.  On some trips there will also be enroute refreshment stops or the option of preordering an evening meal that will be delivered to the train. 

Can we bring our own food onboard?

Does the train have a liquor license?
Sometimes.  You will be advised before the trip if it is licensed.  A small amount of BYO is permitted on occasions when we do not have a liquor license.

Do you have EFTPOS for ontrain purchases?
From time to time we have limited EFTPOS available subject to cell phone coverage.  Cell phone coverage is poor for many of the routes we travel.  Cash is preferred.

Is the train heated?
Sorry, no, but the carriages do warm up after a short time of being occupied.  Temperatures vary on the train so we do suggest that you wear layers that can be added or removed as required.  If it looks like being a very cold day you consider bringing a blanket. 

Are your carriages suitable for a wheelchair user?
Due to the age and design of the carriages it is not possible to board whist seated in a wheelchair.  However we will be pleased to convey passengers of limited mobility whenever possible provided they can step onto the train from the platform, climbing a step and move to their reserved seats with the help of an able bodied carer.  Our crew would assist guiding the passenger up the step onto the train and arrange for the storage of the wheelchair in the guards van.  The wheelchair must be able to be folded up and cannot be used on the train.  We request that you advise us of your needs when booking so that we can provide appropriate assistance.  Sorry we are unable to convey mobility scooters. 

Are pushchairs and bicycles allowed on the train?
As long as the pushchair is foldable then it will not be a problem to bring it on the train.  It will be stored in the luggage area.  We can usually accommodate one or bicycles.  Please let us know at time of booking that you want to bring a cycle.  Wheelchairs would take priority. 

Is smoking allowed on the train?
No.  By law smoking is not allowed on the train.  This restriction applies to all areas of the train including outside on the open end balconies. 

Are dogs allowed on the train?
For the comfort of all passengers the, the only dogs allowed on the train are guide dogs, hearing dogs and mobility assist dogs. 

Can I bring hazardous goods on the train?
Think of the train like an aircraft.  We are unable to carry flammable liquids, explosives (including fireworks), solvents & fuel (including gas bottles), ammunition, etc. 

Where can I join the train?
Our tours operate over a variety of routes so boarding locations can vary.  For the majority of trips that originate from Paekakariki they will depart from the main Paekakariki Station platform and not from our depot.  There is good car parking nearby.

Trains running north from Paekakariki will typically pickup at Paraparaumu, Waikanae, Otaki, Levin, Palmerston North, then stations depending on the route.  Trains running south from Paekakariki will pick up from one or two intermediate suburban stations. 

How do I volunteer to work on the train or at your depot?
We welcome volunteers and it is easy to join our team.  Either approach one of our members on the train or via the website link.  

Related information


Book our heritage train travel - Get tickets on one of our steam or diesel hauled train trips or check out future rail journeys that are coming up.

Membership and volunteering - Membership of Steam Incorporated is open to anyone who wishes to support the activities of the Society.