Kingston Flyer back in steam for commemoration

The Kingston Flyer Open Day next weekend will feature one locomotive back in steam while another will be in static display. PHOTO: Myles Manihera

Southlanders will get the chance to enjoy the smells and sounds of the Kingston Flyer steam locomotive next weekend for a commemoration day.

The event is being held on Sunday, February 18 in memory of Russell Glendinning who had been involved with the famous train since 1971.

Open Day coordinator Neville Simpson said the idea came about after a condition assessment was carried out earlier last year which found that one locomotive could get back in operation without too much difficulty.

"The train wasn't running at the time Russell died on February 20 last year."

With approval from the New Zealand Transport Agency, a small band of people got the locomotive back to a point where it was able to be getting up steam, he said.

"Once we realised we could achieve that, we thought it would be appropriate. Russell was involved with the Flyer from its beginnings in December 1971 and basically was involved with it the entire time until 2012 to 2013. He became known as Mr Kingston Flyer," he said.

The Kingston Flyer locomotive Ab795 will be in steam during the open day while the Ab778 locomotive and heritage carriages will be on static display.

"People can come look inside the carriage, take some pictures."

Along with a marquee of food and drinks, as well as children's entertainment, it would be great to see people indulge in the train, he said.

"It's nice to see it back to a stage where people can enjoy it... Come along and enjoy the day, it's a lovely area — it's not going to be weather-dependent."

Mr Simpson would not comment on the current ownership status of the train.

The Open Day will run from 11am till 6pm at Kingston Railway Station. Ticket entry details will be posted on the Kingston Flyer Open Day Facebook page.


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