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Kingston Flyer Stays On Southland Tracks

For Immediate Release February 11, 2002


Tranz Rail and a joint venture business backed by Invest South Limited today confirmed the sale of the Kingston Flyer with the famed historic steam train to remain on track as a leading tourist attraction in the Southland province.

Invest South, a company owned by the Southland Building Society will purchase the two locomotives and eight passenger carriages that make up the train set from Tranz Rail and will lease these to the joint venture operating company.

Southland businessmen Phil Kerr and Ian Cauldwell, operating as the Kingston Flyer Steam Train Joint Venture, reached an agreement with Kingston Flyer Ltd, the track owners on buying the tracks last week.

Tranz Rail Managing Director, Michael Beard, said he was satisfied an agreement had been reached that would keep the famous train in its Southland home.

That sentiment was also echoed by the new owners who were pleased to be able to invest in a New Zealand and Southland icon that would continue to attract tourists from both overseas and domestic markets to the region.

Mr Beard confirmed the Kingston Flyer rolling stock had been purchased by Invest South for $350,000.

The tracks had earlier been purchased by the Steam Train Joint Venture for $150,000.

"There are some legal details still to be finalised around some of the additional equipment associated with the operation of the Kingston Flyer but the sale is confirmed from our point of view," said Mr Beard.

Invest South will lease the rolling stock to the Kingston Flyer Steam Train Joint Venture and the Joint Venture business will operate the Kingston Flyer.

Invest South CEO David Backhurst said this was the kind of investment that Invest South's $5 million share capital was intended for with the opportunity to maintain and grow a business that was very important to the region.

"We know the Flyer is a well-established feature of many tour itineraries and we look forward to marketing and further developing the business to the benefit of the Southland region," said Mr Backhurst.

"There was a chance this business could be lost to our region and I thank Tranz Rail for its patience and for the further opportunity extended to Southland interests to ensure the Flyer remained in the province."

Mr Beard said the final transaction would be completed very soon with the Kingston Flyer formally handed over to its new owners in May.

He said arrangements were also being finalised to ensure the three semi-permanent Tranz Rail staff associated with the operation of the Kingston Flyer would be accommodated in the new set up.


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