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11 December 2008


We are at the premises of the South Australia Society of Model and Experimental Engineers which is a mouthful so it's usually known as the initials SASMEE, S-A-S-M-E-E. It's a lot easier to do.

At the moment we're have two tracks. One is the broader gauge. We tend to talk in imperial measurements, seven and a quarter inch gauge, and the original track, which is the inner one, is a five inch gauge.

The inner one's about 300 metres in circumference. The outer one is about 500 metres so it's a fairly extensive range of track we've got.

But the boat pond was built in the 70s - I can't remember the exact date - but that was built for those interested in building boats.

And the steamhouse came into operation, that's the one behind us here, with lots of working models of steam which some members prefer to build rather than engines or boats.

My name is John. I've been involved with live steam locomotives for about 34 years.

These locomotives are very fascinating. They're just like the full-sized locomotives but in miniature. You have to steam them up, you have to shovel coal while you're driving along. You have to make sure the water level is still the same so in many senses it's just the same as driving a big one, and a hell of a lot lighter.

Part of the excitement for me is being able to show our locomotives off to the public and to give them rides and to explain to them how steam locomotives work and what it was like in an earlier era.

Yeah, it was great, a lot of fun. The trains go a lot faster than what I thought they would and it's great for the kids too.

She loves the trains too..

Especially for her because she identifies with some of the trains with the characters out of Thomas, the Tank Engine and she's a big fan. So yes, we're just going to keep coming back until, you now, maybe she gets into Barbie or something.

My name's Bob Nash. I joined the club in 1974 and that's when I started building locomotives. The Copel, which you see behind me, that took me four and a half years to build. That was a fairly simple locomotive so there's not as much work in it.

But there again I made my patterns, had them cast here and start machining them. You make every part of it actually.

Well, I don't know why I love them. It's just something that I like doing. I love building them, yet I don't drive them.

I'm Mitchell and I'm 14 years old and this is my hobby, driving trains, and I like it because it's fun, you get out of the house and it's not boring. And so I'm a junior member now so I get to drive on public field days with no passengers around. So yes, I really like it, it's cool.

I think steam engines are fascinating in that you can see that they're alive. They ooze steam and smoke. You have to shovel coal in, you can see the fire. The whistle is quite melodious and awesome and I think it's just a wholesale appealing machine.

I spend five days a week in the workshop, 9 til 5. I don't do anything at night time or weekends. It's a job. And I'm 81 now and I don't plan to build any more engines, but people say I will but however, while I'm still able I'll be doing something.

It's a fascination partly on the fact that the principle of all these engines, whether they're railway engines or the big ones down there or these, they're all working on the same principle. You know they're just water gets boiled, made into steam and it pushes the piston: around goes the wheel.

I don't know that it will ever die out. A few of us old timers of course we still come over and enjoy the place.