Attempts to save historic train the Kingston Flyer appear to have run out of steam.
The Government has ruled out supporting the debt-ridden locomotive, with the loss of 15 jobs.
Mounting debt and the failure to sell Southland tourist venture means it is unlikely the Kingston Flyer will resume operating on 1 October.
Former manager Russell Glendinning says the Kingston Flyer is caught in a financial web following the bankruptcy of developer Dan McKewan, who owned the company which ran the train.
Mr Glendinning hopes something can be sorted out, despite the Government's decision not to provide financial aid.
Prudential Mortgagees has rejected an offer by American company RailMark to buy the Kingston Flyer.
Mr Glendinning says he has seen five companies operate the train since 1971 and believes a solution will be found.
Prudential declined to talk to Radio New Zealand.