Peter Neve OAM hosted an unveiling ceremony on Saturday at his private railway on Wardle Street.
The crowd of 60 trainspotters were the first to use the newly constructed 1914-style waiting shed.
But while Mr Neve is well recognised for his unique hobby, the lifelong journey that led him to own one of Junee’s premier tourist attractions is less known.
He admits his collection is a product of being in the right place at the right time.
“You find things here and there, in people’s garages, at auctions, you never stop looking,” he said.
“You do have to buy them when you find them, because otherwise they won’t be there when you have the money.”
His 1915 Hunslet steam locomotive ‘Torpedo’ he describes as his “pride and joy”.
He bought it in 1975 for just $150, but its restoration has cost more than $100,000.
“It was retired and sitting at a beach in Ingham, Queensland.
“The council wanted to get rid of it because it was so rundown,” he said.
It was one of the first purchases he made when he began his collection in Sydney. It came with him to Junee four years ago, as he began building his 600 metre private track.
The hobby railway boasts four locomotives, passenger carriages with a guard’s compartment, one fettlers’ trike, a stopping station, and now the 1914-style waiting shed.
The latest addition was officially opened on Saturday by fellow train enthusiast Steph Cooke.
His efforts earned him recognition in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2015.
I’m just trying to preserve history here. If I didn’t buy them when I did, they wouldn’t exist any more and that would be the tragedy.
“I often ask, ‘who dobbed me in?’ You don’t really expect it.
“But if your hobby can help others, and record history at the same time, that’s great. It’s about preserving yesterday, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Despite his accolades, Mr Neve fears he will never complete his collection.
“You can never finish really. I realise I’m not going to be around forever, but the hope is the trains will be.”
Mr Neve is now committed to teaching his apprentice train enthusiasts, aged 19 to 55, to one day take over the operation.
“One of the reasons I have it is so that if I want to, I can wake up and go out and say ‘I’m going to run my trains all day today’, and then spend the day as I please going around my track.”
His passion for the railway began in childhood.
“When I was 13, I was the youngest person to join the Australian Railway Association.
“At that point they believed no-one that young would be interested in trains. I proved them wrong, and those who came after me, they proved them wrong.”
As a teenager, Mr Neve had no greater aspirations than to own an indoor set.
“Best I thought would be I’d have a big model train set somewhere. I have one of those too. I suppose one always dreams of having their own railway, and Junee is a railway town, so it fits well to have it here.”