Ian McEwan with his model railway that is set up in his outdoor shed. He is organising this weekend’s exhibition at the Stoke Memorial Hall. Photo: Charles Anderson.

All on track for model railway expo


In the back of Ian McEwan’s Stoke property is a non-descript garage that houses another world. There are ‘Neyland’, ‘Renwick’ and ‘Marlborough’ – all miniature train stations that Ian has built over years of labouring as a carpenter, electrician and designer.

“Taking something in your mind’s eye and then creating it is quite something.”

Ian grew up in Port Chalmers and used to marvel at the steam trains that arrived each day. His grandfather was an engine driver, as well as his great grandfather.

“It’s in the blood,” says Ian.

This weekend, Ian’s modelling work will be part of a showcase of trains of all shapes and sizes which will be on display at the Nelson’s Model Railway Exhibition at the Stoke Memorial Hall.

“It shows what people can actually do,” he says. “We have people of all ages and abilities and stages.”

Exhibitors are coming from all over the South Island for the show – Cromwell, Dunedin, Geraldine, Ashburton, Oxford, Christchurch, Blenheim and the West Coast.

“The number of people in this area, even though we haven’t got a railway, is surprising how many people have model railways. They don’t say much about it.”

It will be the eighth biennial show and hosts 17 layouts covering American, British, Continental, Irish and New Zealand railways. The size of the trains varies from ‘T gauge’ or 1:480 scale, to ‘H0n30’ or 1:87 scale.

Ian says there will also be two layouts that are interactive for young people to play with.

“The show has something for all age groups.”

The show is on March 24 and 25 from 10am to 5pm at the Stoke Memorial Hall. Entry is $5 for adults and children are $2.