The end of the line

“I reached the end of the line,” quips model railway enthusiast Roy Rosenberg.

Declining health and difficulties with storage has prompted Roy’s decision to conclude his interest in model making and necessitated the rehoming of his remaining railway layout.

The model railway set which had been stored in a container in Pyes Pa, needed to be moved urgently.

Roy and his wife Mavis always aimed to treat their six grandchildren equally, and one day one of the grandchildren asked Roy to make him a model of a Maori Pa.

His mother had taken him to the Auckland Museum, where he’d seen a model. When Roy saw it, and realised how huge it was, complete with forest, pa and waka on the foreshore, he talked his grandson into making a smaller version.

Once completed, Roy realised he’d treated one grandchild better than the others, and in an attempt to rectify this, he created his first railway model.

The theory was that each grandchild could have their own personal train to run on the layout when they came to visit Rob and Mavis.  

“At the time I was doing some genealogy study,” says Roy, “and my great-grandfather came to mind.

“The inspiration for the English HO layout came from where he was employed by the LMS to work on locomotives on the branchline that passed by the Denby Pottery between Little Eaton and Ripley.

“He was employed from 1850 until 1881, when he and his family emigrated to Rockhampton in  Queensland, Australia.”

The model is highly detailed, with buildings that have interior lighting, trees, a yard and engine shed, tunnels, a flour mill and a coal mine.

In the centre of the model, the track has a double oval endless rail that rises and falls while passing through tunnels and over bridges. There is a flat  outside oval track, a turnaround and a full sidings area.

Fitted with magnetic decouplers, the track has the usual points and signals. There is also a secondary lighting system, giving the impression of moonlight when the main lights are turned off. Two control points mean multiple trains can be run simultaneously.

The controllers are fitted with brake and inertia switches. “To replicate this model today, without consideration of labour, would be a costly exercise,” smiles Roy.

“The model is a general representation of the area as it was around 1890 to 1950, with the rolling stock and locomotives used being current to that time.

“I started making it in my garage in Auckland.

“Then we decided to move to the Omokoroa  Country Estate in 1998. When I arrived here I  completed it in the garage.”

With his carpentry skills coming in handy for the retirement village, he was able to strip out an old storage area and create a hobby room. The manager invited him to set his model railway up there.

However, when the room was no longer available he moved it into container storage at his daughter’s  property. Recently the container was needed for another purpose, so it was time to find a new home for this extraordinary railway.

“It’s gone to a gentleman in Welcome Bay who is setting it up again,” says Roy, delighted to have found a new railway enthusiast.