All aboard! The trains will be running on time and on track this Easter Weekend when members of the New Plymouth Model Railway Club open the doors of their farm shed clubrooms to the public.
Hiding away in an old farm shed in a paddock on Parite Rd, the clubrooms look anything but interesting from the outside, but once the doors open, a whole new world can be found inside.
Club secretary and treasurer Bob Schumacher says the Easter Monday open day is designed to introduce families to that world of model railways and perhaps tempt a few more people to join the club.
"We all love trains. Most of us have our own sets at home, but being able to meet up and work and play with the club's large set-up is just great fun."
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The club has been going for more than 40 years, with the first meeting held back in 1979. Over the years, he says, the track layout has been designed, modelled, built, and rebuilt.
"Making changes is a way to keep it interesting. The layout itself is based on a fictitious train company club members created. Called The Central Western, it runs between New Plymouth to Palmerston North. Individual stops and features of the route reflect the area around us, visitors can spot companies and geographical features they will recognise."
The detailing in the model scene is quite incredible to see. From cows grazing in paddocks, to mailbags ready to be loaded onto a train at a station, every part of the track layout helps tell a story. The mountains, trees, model people and animals, along with over 140m of track, spread over two rooms in the old farm shed, with each twist or turn bringing something new to be discovered.
"It never stops being fun. We have in excess of 250 wagons, and 25 or so locomotives, so the track can be quite busy too. There's careful planning to be done, and sometimes a bit of waiting for the track to be clear before you can run a train along a route."
What: New Plymouth Model Railway Club open day
Where: Clubrooms, 439 Parite Rd, Bell Block, will be signposted from Bell Block McDonald's
When: Easter Monday - Monday, April 18. 1pm-4pm
Cost: Family: $5, individuals $2 - cash only please
Covid regulations: All current covid rules will be followed and visitors are asked to wear their mask if over 12 and not exempt.