Model railways, real trains, and real Christian fellowship!

History of… Part II

… And My Model Train Hobby
By Roger Dohnt

I first became interested in model trains when one of my employees asked if he could bring in to work some of his model trains to work on the fine detailing of them when there was no work to do. I agreed to this and I immediately took an interest when I saw how beautifully painted and detailed his models were. After a while I thought this would be a great hobby for me to take up. There was a small room at the back of the garage at my home that was under utilised and so it became a room for me to build a layout. He helped me design a layout and to select buildings and rolling stock. He then helped me by adding detail to the locos. My first locos were a Lima 4464 in candy and two Powerline 48 class one in candy and the other in reverse Tuscan.

Sometime later, I was at my church, Nepean Baptist Church, and I shared my interest in model trains with my friend Ken Coombes. He shared that he was also a model train enthusiast. Together we went to model train shows and stores and our friendship grew. It was about this stage when Ray Beharrell started to come to our church. We found out that he was also a model train and heritage train enthusiast.

Ken had the idea that we form a club or fellowship together with a few other people he knew were model train enthusiasts. Ken lived in the Blue Mountains while Ray and I lived in the Penrith area. The name of the group was designed to include both regions and to be unashamedly Christian. We thought that there could also be some outreach opportunities to come from the group.

My layout continued to be finely detailed over the next few years and was used by our fellowship as a display layout at model train shows at Mt Victoria and Springwood. The fellowship continued to grow in numbers and was blessed to be able to join with the Valley Heights Heritage Locomotive Depot Museum through Ray Beharrell’s association with the museum. The museum had a nice layout but it was a bit run down and the museum asked us to restore it in exchange for letting us use the museum for our fellowship gatherings. This is still the case today. 

Ken moved churches to Warrimoo Baptist and they had a very large steel shed down the back of their property that even had a kitchen and toilet. The church generously offered this shed to our fellowship in exchange for us maintaining it. We now have a number of big and small layouts in the shed and have regular meetings there to fellowship with each other, share God’s word together and play and fiddle and fix and expand the trains and the layouts.

I moved homes to Blaxland about 7 years ago and, after settling in, decided to build a new much better and bigger layout in a basement room of the home. Regrettably, personal problems intervened, and this layout was never finished before I had to sell up and relocate. Now in my current home in Blacktown, an exciting new layout is now under way that hopefully will get finished and will also carry all of the knowledge and skills I have learnt over the years as well as suit my now quite large collection of locomotives and rolling stock.

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