This is a very civilised and scenic way to travel from Christchurch to Picton. It's an early start but breakfast on the train is one of the pleasures. Initially, and once out of the Christchurch suburbs, the scenery is pretty rather than spectacular. There are, however, two outstanding sections of the journey: first, where the track hugs the coastline around Kaikoura - this is where you will see seals and dolphins; and second, where the line traverses the northern tip of the Southern Alps south of Picton.
As with the other Trans Scenic trains, the carriages are bright and spacious, the seats are very comfortable, the large windows give an excellent view of the passing countryside and the open-air observation carriage is, weather permitting, the place to stand as the train snakes around the Kaikoura coast.
Some on the train thought that the service might soon be withdrawn, so catch it while you can.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.