'All aboard, toot toot' for old train

The Kingston Flyer will resume commercial operations on January 4 after being taken off the tracks earlier this month because of safety concerns over one of the two engines' boilers.

Engine Ab 795 was given the green light by boiler and mechanical inspectors yesterday and locals and visitors alike are being invited to go on a special trip tonight, before the train resumes commercial trips on January 4.

The New Year's Eve trip will run to Fairlight from Kingston, allowing passengers to see in the new year with a picnic dinner.

''It really is a case of `all aboard, toot toot' and I'm thrilled,'' owner David Bryce said.

While it had been ''extremely disappointing'' to have to suspend operations while repairs continued on the second engine, he had known when he bought the Flyer he was making an ''investment for longevity''.

He said the only anticipated break in operations would be on January 6, for the second race-the-train event from Fairlight to Kingston, involving more than 200 runners.

Race organiser Adrian Bailey of Active QT said many people would be very happy to hear the Kingston Flyer was running in time for the event. He said the race had already attracted more than 200 participants and more were likely to arrive from all over Australasia.

''It's promising to be agreat event,'' he said.

Mr Bryce said train bookings for the summer season were strong.