The Kingston Flyer Railway will operate two trips a day during the 2012/13 season, launching in time for the New Zealand school holidays on September 29 and running until April 30 2013. It will be the second season of operation for train owner David Bryce.
Mr Bryce and the Kingston Flyer team worked diligently in the lead up to the first season to ensure the train was fully up to operational standards and had always planned a full maintenance overhaul this winter.
With no previous boiler inspection records available from the receivers of the locomotives when he bought it, Mr Bryce initiated a major ‘strip down’ of the boiler of locomotive AB 795 to secure its continued reliability for decades to come.
“It’s been a very busy time during winter, and huge investment required, but when I bought the train I made a commitment to New Zealand and the community so it has to be done,” said Mr Bryce.
“The boiler has been inspected by Stork Technical Services of New Plymouth and a small list of repairs has been identified and is now underway.
“All is better than expected for an old girl built in Addington in 1927.”
Having taken on the task in August 2011 to secure the ownership of the Kingston Flyer for New Zealand in perpetuity, Mr Bryce said it was “all go” to get everything operational and licensed for last summer.
Now with a small repair to the front tube plate, two new stays, and full replacement of tubes in the boiler, it is predicted there will be another five decades ahead of pulling the carriages from Kingston to Fairlight and return twice daily.
The off-season winter period, has traditionally been the time for annual maintenance of the locomotives, carriages and railway line.
“As with everything mechanical we expect there to be annual maintenance, and locomotives are no exception,” said Mr Bryce.
He said the support of the wider community meant a very successful first season was enjoyed with over 16,000 passengers “riding the rails”.
“To have such a strong first season was very reassuring as an owner, but our goal of course is to get even more visitors riding and enjoying the train this year.
“We’ve already been recruiting staff for summer, we’d like to hear from any others keen to work on the train or cafe operations, and training will start soon.”
The Kingston Flyer Gala Opening Weekend on September 29 will be a fun-filled day which will include a car boot market day – with no attendance fee – from 10am to 3.30pm, free music, and discounted opening weekend fares at $30 for an adult and $15 per child.
Vintage cars and machinery will be on display in Kingston, and Mr Bryce has invited clubs to attend to which he will provide four free tickets.
The Saturday timetable will see the train operate at 10am, 12pm and 2pm, while on Sunday it will run at 10am and1.30pm only.
For more information and to reserve tickets for the 2012/13 season go to www.kingstonflyer.co.nz