More than toys . . . Whitestone Model Rail Group founding members (from left) Richard Sparks, Eric O'Brien, Steve Allan, Alister Paton and president Warren Crawford with the award the group received from the New Zealand Heritage Trails Foundation. PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

Oamaru’s Whitestone Model Rail Group has been recognised for its work by the New Zealand Heritage Trails Foundation.

The group, based above the Oamaru Textile Emporium in Tyne St, operates its model rail network for the public to enjoy every Sunday.

It recently received an award from the foundation for its preservation, revival and promotion of New Zealand steam and rail heritage.

The award was presented by foundation chairman, and former Oamaru resident, David Wilson.

Whitestone Model Rail Group member and former president Richard Sparks said the award was a pleasant surprise for group members.

“There’s not many of them given out, so it came out of the blue. We had no inkling of it arriving.

“It takes pride of place up in the club’s rooms, that’s for sure.”

The group’s 16 members have an extensive collection of modern trains and traditional locomotives, mainly from overseas, which run on a network featuring models of prominent Oamaru buildings.

Mr Sparks, who owns 32 model locomotives, said it was not just model train enthusiasts who were attracted to the set-up.

“It goes down very well with the public . . . we get people from all over the world that write in our visitor book. It’s magnificent to have a look and see who has come in here.

“It’s old guys having a lot of fun with kids’ toys.”Running SneakersFASHION NEWS