The third phase of Peter Neve’s hobby railway construction has been completed, with the newly refurbished waiting shed to be unveiled at the end of the month.
Since Mr Neve returned to Junee from Sydney four years ago, he has been steadily constructing his 600 metre rail track around his Wardle Street property.
“For those of us who have been a part of it, we’ve enjoyed watching the project go from vacant lot to rail track,” said fellow train-enthusiast and Mr Neve’s longterm friend, Nicholas Piers.
Last year in February, the country platform was completed. Now, the 1915-style waiting shed has been added to the property, to be unveiled on June 30.
It will join the 1915 Hunslet steam locomotive that Mr Neve bought and restored in 2016.
“That one used to be used in the sugar fields in Queensland, then it was left in a park for kids to play in, but it deteriorated so the council wanted to sell it.”
Mr Neve recalls he bought the nineteeth century British steam train for a modest price, and with the help of some friends, managed to turn into his famed ‘Torpedo’.
Like that train, the newly finished four by three metre shed has been built to suit Mr Neve’s nostalgia for early rail history.
“These sheds used to be on the country lines in days gone by, when they were not manned by guards,” Mr Neve said.
One part of the shed that has Mr Neve particularly excited is the replica signal.
“In these sheds there used to be a green banner, or lantern, that you’d wave to tell the train to slow down and they used to say ‘don’t wave it unless you want the train to stop, because it will’.”
Mr Neve researched plans from old railways around the state, and adapted the style to fit his property.
“There actually a few of these old shed still in use around Sydney, one that they’ve just refurbished and repainted in heritage colours.”
Currently, there are two working trains on Mr Neve’s property. The Hunslet and a 1955-era Rustin Diesel locomotive, with three full restored passenger carriages. He also has another two carriages awaiting restoration.
The idea to build his own private railway began when he was living in the south Sydney suburb of Loftus. There, he managed to build a 50 metre track spanning from gate to fence along two blocks.
Since he began his full project in Junee two years ago, he estimates it has cost him $250,000. Though, he says, it is hard to put a price tag on something he enjoys so much.
“Some play cricket, some ride horses or restore old cars. That’s my hobby and I think it brings a lot of people joy too.”