Railway enthusiast’s model hobby

Stan, the train man!

Stan Steiner’s life has been on track since he was just a little boy, when he began conducting a life-long love affair with model trains.

His home at Rand Aid’s Tarentaal retirement village has lost the battle to his obsession, with his open plan living area given almost totally over to the enormous table-height train display, which uses both analogue and digital controls.

Stan (81) has created a wonderworld filled with miniature people, buildings, streets, trees, cars, trucks, outdoor advertising, stations and, of course, locomotives, coaches, freight trains and railway tracks. Hoots and whistles sound out and working lights twinkle when Stan flicks a switch or two and brings the golden age of the railroad back to life.

Many of the buildings and other models were painstakingly made by Stan’s own hand. The former motor mechanic, who retired in 2005, says with his train hobby and love of social activities, he has no time to be bored.

His current model took over four years to build and is far from finished. He is currently expanding the surface area, adding more track and even mountains. After that, he will no doubt find something else to tweak. Such is the nature of those addicted to railway modelling.

His previous display was considerably larger than his current one, although the locomotives were smaller, because of the N gauge scale he used. It was housed at the Eastern Model Railway Interest Group’s club in Benoni. “I had invested around 20 years in creating that display but when the club had to vacate the premises, I had little choice but to find a new home for it,” says Stan.

He had so much interest from buyers, says Stan, that he eventually sold it for double the original asking price.

Stan’s interest in trains was sparked when he was 11 years old and saw a large O-gauge train in a shop window. “It was a big, heavy steam engine and I had to have it but it cost a whopping 10 pounds.”

Determined, he paid the shop keeper a deposit and then paid the engine off in instalments. “When I had that locomotive in my hands, and knew it was mine to keep, I was delighted. Sadly though, I did not have any tracks and had the mammoth task of saving to buy them next,” he recalls.

Today, Stan owns over 80 locos in addition to his collection of passenger coaches and freight trains.

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