Uncertain future for Kingston Flyer vintage steam train

Rot is starting to set into the once-pristine Kingston Flyer.

The historic steam train wwas once the pride of the south, but is now at the end of the line with no certain future.

The Kingston Flyer has been left exposed to the rain, shine and snow.

Kingston residents Ken and Paula McCaullife used to work on the train and describe the current scene as a tragedy.

"The carriages from what I used to know as sparkling green and shiny are now rotting wood and disgusting looking," said Mr McCaullife.

The century-old steam locomotive originally carried passengers and freight from Kingston to Invercargill in the 1890s. 

In its heyday it was a heritage attraction running 14 kilometres from Kingston to Fairlight Station - on the edge of Lake Wakatipu.

Now tourists passing through Kingston are left with an eyesore.

"It's a shame it's just sitting there and no one is doing anything about it, and it's just rotting away," said tourist Maria Nelsen. 

New Zealand's most famous train struggled to attract customers and parts of the line were dismantled and lifted up. It stopped running in 2012. 

Now it's in desperate need of some love and restoration.

"Those lines were eventually sold off, bought by investors. The iron, the steel was worth something, the railway sleepers, everyone landscaped their garden with railway sleepers," said David Clarke, director of the Lakes District Museum.

The long-time owner of the Kingston Flyer, David Bryce, died in August. His son did not want to comment on the train's future but said it remained 'open'. 

The two steam locomotives and vintage carriages are now in the hands of a consortium of mystery buyers that take over at Christmas.

The pride of Kingston is now in uncertain hands as its history slowly fading away.