Steaming ahead in Mangere
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.