Steam­ing ahead in Man­gere

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JAMES IRE­LAND

Dave Giles spent five years build­ing his 1/3 scale replica of an Amer­i­can steam train.

‘‘It took about 4000 hours to build it. It runs on coal, just like a full-size en­gine.

‘‘I think peo­ple are sur­prised at how pow­er­ful it is. Dur­ing a con­fer­ence we de­cided to see how many peo­ple it could tow. We just kept adding more and more car­riages. We got up to 132 peo­ple.’’

Giles is the chair­man of the Manukau Live Steam­ers club, a group of minia­ture train en­thu­si­asts who meet reg­u­larly in Man­gere.

He built his first replica train when he was 16 and kept go­ing from there.

In his Paku­ranga work­shop he de­signs and man­u­fac­tures ev­ery piece of the train he can.

About 20 years ago he de­signed his most suc­cess­ful en­gine, the 1/8 scale Phantom. He’s now sold 95 of them around the world.

In 1981 the idea of a club and a park was raised and with fi­nan­cial help from Manukau City Coun­cil the 760-me­tre track was built curv­ing through Man­gere’s Cen­tre Park and through a tun­nel which is based on the Rau­rimu Spi­ral in the cen­tral North Is­land.

In 1990 an­other track was built, this time a 1.2km loop around the park.

It also crosses a 60m bridge.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see Dave Giles speak about his steam trains.

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