Oamaru's tourist attractions and retail outlets will get a boost on Sunday as the Taieri Gorge Railway Silver Fern train brings 94 visitors to town.
On the back of the success of the Silver Fern's trial run to Oamaru in November, a monthly train service from Dunedin to Oamaru looks viable. On Sunday, after the sold-out train arrives from Dunedin, Oamaruvians and visitors have the opportunity board the train for three trips to Maheno and back.
Tourism Waitaki marketing and sales co-ordinator Megan Howell said the 45- minute jaunts to Maheno were affordable and a great school holidays boredom buster.
"I really want to encourage locals to go and experience this. It's also an opportunity for visitors, and if you have family and friends visiting then it might be an outing for a family group," she said.
"It's a shorter trip, you get the fabulous scenery and the experience of riding on the Silver Fern and it's very affordable for families."
Taieri Gorge Railway's promotions co-ordinator Louise Burnside said the Oamaru service was building and was being well supported by Dunedin residents.
"We're really happy with how the service is building up, we are full for [Sunday's] trip, so that's 94 seats," she said.
The short trips, first to Palmerston, this time to Maheno, gave Oamaru people the chance to try out the train, a new opportunity for some.
"Many Oamaru people haven't really travelled by train before, with no regular service from the station," she said.
Interest in the train from previous trips was encouraging.
The train is expected to leave Dunedin at 8am and arrive in Oamaru at 10.45am in time for the Oamaru Farmers' Market and visits to the Victorian Precinct, Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, harbour attractions and shops.
Oamaruvians were encouraged to greet the visitors as they arrived at the train station.
"It was just really nice last time that there were so many people to meet the train ..."
The train will depart Oamaru for Maheno at 11.15am, returning at noon. Other Maheno-bound trains will depart Oamaru at 12.15pm and 1.15pm.
The Dunedin-bound train will leave Oamaru at 3.15pm.
Tickets cost $20 per adult and $10 per child to Maheno and back.