THE KINGSTON FLYER
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.
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