Nelson Society of Modellers members Tony Winter and Reece Cobb with Reece’s steam model NZR Ab at the Steam & Cinders ’18 convention in Nelson. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

International convention takes Nelson by steam


Model engineers steamed into Nelson for the international Steam & Cinders ’18 convention last week.

With over 300 attendees from across New Zealand and the world, the Nelson Modellers Pond was buzzing with the crowds of people and the chug of locomotives.

Starting in Nelson in 1978, the biennial convention travels around the country with local clubs taking turns to host.

Nelson Society of Modellers president Nigel Gibbs says it is great to get so many enthusiasts together for the five-day convention.

“It’s about all of us getting together as a group of engineers with a common passion, talking rubbish, having a look at other people’s models and having a good time.”

Powered by steam, electricity, petrol, and diesel, the model trains chugged around the track, taking thousands of people for rides.

“We must’ve given over 3000 rides just on Sunday alone, it has been crazy.”

Among the exhibiting Nelson Society of Modellers members was Tony Winter, who says he has been sitting on his locomotive all day, every day.

“It’s great to see all the kids’ expressions as they go round and talking to all the people who come up saying ‘Wow! What drives it?’.”

Tony says the variety of locomotives has captured the attention of enthusiasts and general members of the public alike.

“A lot of these trains don’t come out of the woodwork very often and the workmanship is incredible, some have taken 23 years to build so it’s been amazing to see them all.”

The convention ran from Thursday through to Monday and will not be hosted in Nelson for another 8-12 years.