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Allan Smith with his Kingston Flyer and AB Class model trains. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Chugging along with railway passion

After 20 years of displaying his model railway to the public, Allan Smith has decided the time has come for some of it to leave the station.
The former screenprinter told The Profile he had sold three quarters of the display to a Paeroa local, but planned to open the remainder to the public under the new name “The small world”, which will include a small rail circuit.

“The rest is not to be sold, they were part of the display because they were my own private things that I made up.”
Allan said it was always his dream to establish the model railway display, with the idea oiled by his father Wally.
“My father got a shift in the railway to Frankton with a railway house and he became a head car wagon inspector… in charge of about three hundred men,” he said.
“That stuck to me and Dad used to take me to the railway on a weekend and let me wander round through big steam locos [locomotives] in the running shed opposite Mechanics Bay.”
Allan said the display prior to being partly sold, was based on Paeroa geography.
“It had the old gold miners shops down the main road, the police station, the two storey hotel and I made a wooden two storied blacksmith building with doors that opened and closed,” he said.
“It also had a railway station and a saw mill – the saw mill was pretty elaborate, the roof was made out of kauri and it was quite large… and next to it was a fairground with a merry go round and a ferris wheel.”
Allan said six or seven steam locomotive engines and four rail cars operated in the display and they would be kept in his possession. He kept a book in the display for visitors to provide their reactions. “I have had mini buses in from Auckland which came down several times and I’ve had old age pensioner people in from Waihī Beach, Hamilton and all around the shooting box,” he said.
“People signed their name and thoughts, and there were quite a few lovely comments.”
Allan said as well as keeping “the small world” open, he would also stay on track with crafting model trains including a Kingston Flyer and an AB Class model for an upcoming Auckland model train convention.