It’s full steam ahead for the first Kingston Flyer Celebration fundraiser this weekend.
The iconic train was saved for future generations in the Wakatipu by Marlborough wine grower David Bryce last year.
It is now once again proudly puffing across the plains between Kingston and Fairlight as it has done for more than 130 years.
To celebrate its rebirth, a family celebration weekend will now be held each year on the last weekend of March, with discounted tickets, as a fundraiser for The Stroke Foundation.
Three return trips on each day will depart Kingston for Fairlight at 10am, noon and 2pm. Tickets are $20 per adult, $10 per child and under-fives are free.
Bryce, 58, had spotted the train on auction site TradeMe while recovering from a stroke. Its previous owner had suffered financial failure in 2009.
Told to rehabilitate himself physically and mentally by setting small goals, his family were shocked when he announced his goal was to buy a huge historic steam train.
Bryce says: “But I thought to myself, let’s have some fun – let’s buy the train!”
Southland boy Bryce bought it unseen and took on the challenge of rebuilding the business.