Trevor the Train's chugs off

United Video staff member Olivia Handley, with customers George, 9, and Ella, 8, McDonald, and Jasmine Edwards, 7, on the front of Trevor the Train. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

It has provided entertainment, formed memories – and sometimes caused a kerfuffle with children not wanting to leave – at the back of a Mount Maunganui video store for about two decades.

Children have played, climbed, and ridden United Video’s big red choo-choo train – this reporter did too. But now, Trevor the Train is on the move.

It will mark the end of a 20-year legacy as the video store closes its doors at the end of this month, with Trevor believed to have been in the shop since it opened.

A United Video employee since 2013, Brooke Hargreaves says the main reason for shutting up shop is a change in the way TV and movie watchers enjoy their content.

“To be honest, it’s a big mix of things, but if you had to pinpoint it to something it’s just the online technology taking over.

“I used to see the same people every week. I know most my customers by name, and then you just don’t see them for six months.

“They’ve either got Netflix, Lightbox, or they’re downloading or legally watching online because they can.

“The thing is there’s just not the business there. It’s just keeping up to date with what people want.”

Brooke believes movie watchers are slowly pressing pause, or even stop, on the future of renting DVDs.

“I give it maybe five years, or even in the next 12 months it will be interesting to see what happens.”

The DVD store has more than 20,000 titles, and Trevor the Train, to sell before February. Trevor has since been listed on Trade Me for $1 reserve.

“There’s a bit of paint that’s flicked off it, but he’s still in pretty good nick,” says Brooke.

“It would be awesome in someone’s house if they’ve got a big playroom. I don’t know if he is waterproof, so I don’t think he’ll be okay outside unless someone waterproofed him. He loves the indoors.”

Last time we checked, the 1.75m tall, 1.3m wide and 3m long train was going for $250.

With the ‘closing down sale’ signs now up, owners Frank and Lyn Dudson want to thank their customers for their loyalty.

“They’re really grateful for the support, the laughs, jokes and the: ‘How’s it going?’s.”

To bid on the train, search Trevor the Train in the ‘Other’ category in the antiques and collectables tab on www.trademe.co.nz