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Train sale interest gathers a full head of steam

Media Release
Date 8.12.2009

Train sale interest gathers a full head of steam

Steam train enthusiasts from as far away as North America and Australia are two of 35 parties who have registered an interest in the sale of the sale of the historic Kingston Flyer steam train.

The company’s assets on sale through a mortgagee sale, include two highly collectable steam trains towing up to seven fully refurbished carriages, as well as extensive tracts of development land around the township of Kingston, 35 kilometres south of Queenstown. Tenders close on December 11.

The train, track, station, associated buildings and nearly 80 hectares of surrounding land are being taken to tender by leading real estate company Bayleys Queenstown on behalf Prudential Mortgage Nominees Limited. Among the residential sections and development blocks is one title which has consent for a 15-dwelling subdivision.

Bayleys Queenstown sales consultant Barry Robertson said that since launching the sale last month, news had spread quickly throughout the New Zealand train enthusiasts and property development network, before being picked up by like-minded train-loving individuals offshore. Locally, enquiries had been received from Southland, Otago, Wellington, and Auckland.

“Since bringing the Kingston Flyer receivership to the market, Queenstown Lakes District Council has brought in land zoning changes which will now allow for intensive residential development on the land directly adjacent to the land contained in this sale,” Mr Robertson said.

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“For those enquiries we have received who have based their proposal around developing the Kingston Flyer land, this means there are potentially greater returns from the rezoning of the neighbourhood. As a result, we anticipate there will be a considerable amount of last-minute number crunching before final tender valuations are submitted.”

The rezoning of 88 hectares beside the Kingston Flyer lots allows for up to 700 new dwellings to be built, as well as recreational, education and commercial operations. New water and sewerage services will also be laid down to handle the predicted growth.

The two locomotives in the Kingston Flyer sale – the Ab 778 which entered service in 1925 and the Ab 795 which started service in 1927 – are Pacific class locomotives, made in New Zealand. The 778 was built at the New Zealand Railways’ Addington, Christchurch yards while the 795 was built at the Railways’ yards in Hillside, Dunedin. The Ab 795 once pulled the New Zealand Royal Train and both are among the last Ab class coal-fired locomotives still functional today.

Chugging behind are seven 1898-vintage steam-heated wooden carriages - including passenger cars and kitchen van - featuring wood panelling, leather seats and brass trims. The Kingston Flyer rolling stock and railway are included in the Queenstown Lakes District Plan inventory of protected features.
“There is a lot of sentimentality around the Kingston Flyer and the place that it has cemented in the hearts and minds of people down here,” Mr Robertson said. “We are very mindful of that, and hope that by offering it for tender, the ultimate outcome may be that it will be running again in due course,” says Mr Robertson.


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