Kingston Flyer owner in talks with tourism operator about future of iconic locomotive
Tourists driving on the highway between Queenstown and Te Anau had a rare treat on Saturday, as the Kingston Flyer chuffed alongside the main road once again.
The steam locomotive made a run on its old stomping ground between Kingston, at the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu, and Fairlight.
Kingston Flyer Limited director Neville Simpson, of Invercargill, said the 14km trip was a test run for the locomotive after being parked up since 2013.
"It was great, it went as well as we expected it to," he said.
"When you're doing testing like that you're not getting too emotional about it. We had a track inspector running behind us and you're making sure that the things that you have repaired are all operating as they should, so its only a couple of days later that you really think about it."
The company was in talks with Pounamu Tourism Group, which ran the Marlborough Flyer, about the future of the Kingston operation, he said.
It had taken a huge amount of work to get the locomotive up and running again.
"My involvement has been to get it back in operational condition and make it fully compliant," he said.
The track was overgrown and had been cleared by local contractors, and expert advice was needed to get it back into working condition.
The locomotive had needed a new boilers' certificate and a mechanical inspectors report, the turntable had been full of water and tools were missing from the workshop, he said.
A new operating licence had been granted by the NZ Transport Agency, who had been "incredibly helpful" he said.
The focus would now move to the rolling stock, and the restoration of one carriage was already under way.
Source : Stuff.co.nz