Press Release – The Kingston Flyer
Press release from The Kingston Flyer 1 October 2012 Kingston Flyer full steam ahead for season Over 600 visitors descended on the village of Kingston, near Queenstown, this weekend to ride the iconic Kingston Flyer steam train at the launch of the 2012/13 …Press release from The Kingston Flyer
1 October 2012
Kingston Flyer full steam ahead for season
Over 600 visitors descended on the village of Kingston, near Queenstown, this weekend to ride the iconic Kingston Flyer steam train at the launch of the 2012/13 season.
They were among hundreds more who enjoyed the Kingston Flyer Gala Opening Day on Saturday (September 29) with train rides, discounted fares and a car boot market where more than 25 stalls sold their wares.
Warm spring temperatures and plenty of sunshine made for a great family day out on the first day of the New Zealand school holidays.
Kingston Flyer owner David Bryce said it was a “fantastic” way to kick-start the season and hoped to see it just as busy over the remaining two weeks of the school break.
“Kids and adults alike had beaming smiles as the train whistled and puffed steam,” he said. “It was fantastic to see so many kids seeing the ‘old girl’ for the first time and just falling in love with the train.
“We’re open until the end of April next year and we encourage all visitors to our region to come and experience this iconic piece of history.”
Hungry visitors on Saturday gathered in the ‘new look’ Flyer Café to enjoy delicious home-made delights from newly-appointed Chef Andy Lisseman, along with lunch menu items such as gourmet burgers and salt and pepper squid served with lettuce greens and home-made aioli.
“Andy’s menu proved a huge hit from day one, with many sitting outside in the outdoor dining area, bathed in sunshine while enjoying lunch and a glass of specially-selected Kingston Flyer wines,” said Mr Bryce.
Chef Lisseman’s background, which includes working for renowned chefs in London and his most recent position at the highly-regarded Jack’s Point Clubhouse, means the Flyer Café has been taken to new levels of culinary experience.
On Saturday, visitors also enjoyed the carnival atmosphere of a range of car boot market stalls, a bouncy castle for the kids and live music.
Many took the opportunity to become ‘Friends of the Flyer’, which entitles holders to a 50% discount on up to 10 regular fares, and complimentary tea and coffee on board the train.
The $65 card is fully transferrable to friends and families, has no expiry date and all proceeds support the Flyer’s ongoing restoration.
Mr Bryce said he was delighted with the uptake on the Friends’ offer.
“It’s a great way for all New Zealanders to get involved in restoring a slice of history and heritage and to offset some of our substantial on-going maintenance and repairs in the long-term,” he said.
“Anyone can become a ‘Friend’, even if they aren’t able to get down to ride the train. We’d still very much appreciate and value that support.”
The Kingston Flyer operates two trips daily until the end of April and is also available for private charter and catering.
For more information and to purchase a ‘Friends of the Flyer’ card and reserve tickets for the 2012/13 season go to www.kingstonflyer.co.nz
About the Friends of the Flyer card
Cardholders are entitled to 50% discount for 10 regular fares. Cards can be purchased online along with discounted fares. Discounted rides are transferrable to friends and family. Book online at www.kingstonflyer.co.nz or phone 0800 4 FLYER. To receive the 50% discount on fares cardholders MUST present their card at the ticket office in Kingston or Fairlight stations when tickets are collected. Cardholders receive complimentary tea and coffee on board the train. Kingston Flyer Ltd reserves the right to limit the use of this card on special trips.
About The Kingston Flyer
The Kingston Flyer is New Zealand’s famous vintage steam train set in the spectacular mountain scenery of the Queenstown Lakes District. When gold was discovered in the Wakatipu district in 1862 the need to connect the district by steamships and steam trains became apparent. The railway line at last reached Kingston on July 10, 1878 and a public holiday was declared by Queenstown Borough and Lake County Councils.
The express passenger steam train known as “The Flyer” serviced Kingston-Gore on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and Kingston-Invercargill on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the 1890’s. During peak holiday periods she also carried passengers from Dunedin to Kingston to meet up with Lake Wakatipu steamboats connecting with the popular holiday destination of Queenstown.
The service was replaced by buses and passenger numbers declined through the 1950’s. The final Kingston Flyer operated during the Easter holiday of 1957. Trains continued to run on the Waimea Plains Railway until 31 March 1971.
The New Zealand Government came up with a plan to save the historic steam train and funded its restoration in 1971. The atmosphere of the 1920’s was retained and remains today featuring polished brass and steel work, white tyres, red fluted side rods, and glossy black paintwork.
The Kingston Flyer heritage service between Kingston and Lumsden continued until 1979. Today the service covers a 14km stretch of track between Kingston and Fairlight. The rails are the originals laid in 1878 but many of the 19,360 sleepers have been replaced.
The driving force and face of The Kingston Flyer was Russell Glendinning who is credited with saving and restoring the Flyer back in the 1970’s. This was acknowledged when he received an MBE in 1975 New Year Honours. Russell’s career began at age 14 in Dunedin in 1953. His apprenticeship took 7 years. In 1964 he became a First Class Driver and in 1969 a Special Class Driver. Russell’s passion and energy continues to this day, he still occasionally drives the train, shines the brass and can be seen regularly out maintaining the track.
The Kingston Flyer in action