Limestone Coast rail back on track

?RAIL HISTORY: Naracoorte man Lindsay Baker spent more than 30 years recreating the Mount Gambier, Naracoorte and Kingston rail corridor on a miniature scale. Shortly before his death, Mr Baker donated the mammoth model train set to the Sheep’s Back Museum in Naracoorte.

By Raquel Mustillo

RAIL enthusiasts can relive the golden age of Limestone Coast locomotives following the launch of a model train set depicting the Mount Gambier, Naracoorte and Kingston rail corridors.

Although the railway closed more than two decades ago, the line will reopen on a smaller scale at the Sheep’s Back Museum in Naracoorte on Saturday.

Naracoorte man Lindsay Baker spent more than 30 years recreating the Mount Gambier railway line down to the finest detail, including a working South Australian Railways Bluebird railcar visitors can run from the Blue Lake city to Naracoorte.

National Trust South Australia Naracoorte branch chair Graham Brammer said Mr Baker donated the model railway to the museum shortly before his death last year.

Mr Brammer said the model train originally comprised of 20 metres worth of tracks and required a sophisticated logistic effort to transport the set from Mr Brammer’s home in Adelaide to Naracoorte.

“The main problem was getting it down here and we had a couple of blokes who helped bring it down in trailers and the South Australian Railway Modellers Association came down to help us assemble it and try and tune it up,” he said.

“It is a very big set up and has several metres of track and as far as detail goes it is very realistic.

“Mr Baker has done a really good job in terms of the likelihood and a number of buildings can be seen like the Naracoorte Hotel and the old mill.

“You can see the old Dalgety building, there are trucks and tractors and you can even see little models of women hanging out the washing.”

Mr Brammer said the model train set would be a permanent exhibit at the museum and would provide visitors an opportunity to view slices of the region’s transport history.

“The National Trust is very grateful for the opportunity to have the model train set and we hope people come in and view the permanent working display,” he said.

“Model trains was Mr Baker’s passion and hobby and it is a magnificent set up.

“Every time you look at the set, you can see something different.”

The model train display will be launched on Saturday, March 6 at 10am, with members of the South Australian Model Railway Association attending the opening.

Another 10 metre mobile train set will be on display in the Naracoorte Historical Vehicle Clubrooms for the day.

Visitors are encouraged to make a gold coin donation at the Naracoorte Visitor Information Centre to view both displays.