July 12, 2016





The Trust’s objective is to keep the Flyers historic Southland story alive by paying tribute to the significant contributions from the ordinary Southlanders who have gone before us. Tribute to those kiwi’s ‘doing their best’, seeing what is possible and giving engineering a good nudge. By preserving in perpetuity, the Kingston Flyer as a community owned asset, we keep these contributions alive, bringing the hard work of those Southlanders back to the community, for generations to come.

This is just the next iteration in the Kingston Flyer Story.

We don’t want to let this story rust away.



First Steam-Powered Locomotive in New Zealand

August 8, 1863

The first steam-powered locomotive in New Zealand, Hunt and Opie 0-4-0 Lady Barkly, begins operating on a short wooden track at the Invercargill Jetty.

The First Steam Line

August 18, 1864

Official opening of the 12km wooden rail Invercargill-Makarewa branch line used by the Crampton 2-2-0 locomotives Makarewa and Oreti.

Invercargill – Bluff

February 5, 1867

Opening of the 27km steel rail Invercargill-Bluff line.

Back to Basics

October 6, 1870

Southland rejoins Otago after going bankrupt, in part due to the high cost of laying the Invercargill-Bluff and Winton extension line.

The Great Northern Railway

February 22, 1871

Official opening of the extended 30km Invercargill line to Winton known as “The Great Northern Railway”.

Conversion of the Line

December 18, 1875

Conversion of the Invercargill-Bluff line from the British standard 4 feet 8½ inch (1,435mm) rail gauge to the narrow national standard is completed in a single day.

Rail Meets Lake Wakatipu

July 10, 1878

Official opening of the 140km long Invercargill-Kingston line, setting in motion the original Kingston Flyer route from Lumsden to Kingston.

The Name – ‘Flyer’

November 13, 1886

With the New Zealand Government purchase of the Waimea Plains line it begins to run a passenger service between Kingston and Gore, known as the Kingston Flyer with Yankee K class locomotives.

End of Regular Passenger Service

October 4, 1926

End of regular passenger services on the Kingston Flyer route. Seasonal trips continue until the late 1950’s.

The AB’s Inaugural Run

August 23, 1971

The inaugural run of the new Kingston Flyer begins in Invercargill led by two government donated Ab 4-6-2 locomotives 778 and 795 on route to their new home in Kingston. These are the iconic engines we know and love today

The Tourist Train Begins

December 21, 1971

The Kingston Flyer begins its tourist orientated operations on its original 61km line between Lumsden and Kingston

The Bridges Wash Out

April 17, 1979

Last trip of the Kingston Flyer to Invercargill from Kingston due to damaged section of track between Lumsden and Garston.

Invercargill – Bluff

November 25, 1979

The Kingston Flyer closes and is moved to continue runs between Invercargill, Bluff and Wairio.

Back to Kingston

December 18, 1982

The Kingston Flyer is returned to Kingston by New Zealand Railways to use a shortened 14km line section between Fairlight and Kingston.

Kingston Flyer for Sale

November 1, 2008

The Kingston Flyer operation is put up for sale by its private owners as a going concern.

David Bryce Purchases the Flyer

October 29, 2011

After purchasing the Kingston Flyer in August 2011, new owner David Bryce recommences commercial travel on the Kingston-Fairlight line until 2013.

The Southern Steam Trust

September 30, 2015

The Southern Steam group has its first meeting.

Have you got a story you’d like to keep from rusting? Click Here to Submit.