Flyer funds spent on advertising

The Kingston Flyer
The Kingston Flyer

Money raised and donated for the purpose of getting the Kingston Flyer back on its tracks has been spent, the man in charge of the fundraising endeavour said.

More than $55,000 was raised for Kingston's biggest tourist attraction between 2009 and last year, when it was eventually bought out of receivership by David Bryce, a Marlborough vineyard owner.

The money was collected by the Southern F Locomotive Trust, and the man who created the trust, train enthusiast Karl Barkley, said $20,000 of it was spent advertising the train.

The other $35,000 was in pledges from supporters of the train and had not yet been collected, although Mr Barkley planned to "wind up the money" and donate it towards Mr Bryce's proposed Kingston Flyer Trust.

"We've currently got nothing left in the account."

The Southlander, who said he was the driving force behind the trust, said the money was spent on "promotional things" for the train.

Mr Barkley said the pledge money was from people "from all around" and he had the receipts to show what the $20,000 was spent on.

"If there is anything left over and David doesn't open this trust, we would put it in another rail trust."

Mr Barkley is now trying to raise funds for the ORB Wairio Railway near Nightcaps, Western Southland, which has been out of action for more than five years.

Mr Bryce told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he had not heard from Mr Barkley since he bought the train last August.

When asked if he had heard about the money from the fund being donated to his proposed Flyer fund, he said he had not had confirmation of this.

"If the money was available, this [the Flyer fund] is where it should be."

Mr Bryce said once the fund was established the purpose would be for trustees to "own the locomotive, carriages and rails".


Misquoted over ORB

Yes I'm in the process of trying to save the ORB Wairio Railway Museum into the hands of an enthusiastic group of local men before it's all lost once again. We are not fundraising presently, we just want to see the ORB Wairio site back into its former glory well before its 90th in 2015 where we hope to be celebrating the first train to run from Wairio to Ohai, followed the next year by the 100th anniversary of the ORB's first board meeting, in August 1916.

If the press and public are not happy about me having to use the funds I singlehandedly raised to save the Kingston Flyer, I'm very sorry if you feel I have done something wrong, but I have put much of my own time and effort into the project for no financial reward to myself. Unfortunately the media has made more from my efforts than the train, as at present the campaign still is owing money to two major papers. 

Without my efforts this great piece of Kiwi heritage could have ended up in the hands of overseas investors.
I'm very thankful that David Bryce has come along, but the railway has still a long way to go before we can say it's saved for good. David will need all the support we can give him and his plans to finally set it up in a trust will secure the Kingston Flyer in NZ ownership for ever. Well David when this does happen? [abridged]