Train buffs love to help

TRAIN BUDDIES: Angus Webster and Steven Winkler were the two volunteers behind the scenes who helped Rutherford Technology High School students build a train line. Picture: Belinda-Jane DavisThey met through a model railway magazine and now best mates Angus Webster and Steven Winkler have used their skills to help others.

The pair were the volunteers behind the scenes that helped Rutherford Technology High School’s special needs unit build an elaborate train track that would be any train enthusiasts dream.

Mr Webster, a retired coal miner, and Mr Winkler, a retired signalman,taught about a dozen students how to buildtwo tracks, a platform, arange of delicately painted buildings and the landscaping that brought it all together.

They worked on it one day a week with the students during the school terms and it took18 months to complete.

Mr Webster and Mr Winker said they enjoyed sharing their skills with the students, but most of all, they wanted to send a strong message to the students –that there are people out there in the community who want to help them grow.

“There are people out there that want to help them,” Mr Webster said.

“They got so much out of it and they gained a lot of skills and knowledge,” Mr Winkler added.

The pair initially made a test track with the students and hooked up the power so the train would move on the track.

They said taking the train around the larger track for the first time was an exhilarating moment.

“You should have seen it, it really made the track come to life –the kids loved it,” Mr Webster said.

Mr Webster said other retirees could help students complete a range of projects, but they had to have a task that was suitable for their level and could be done at school.

Mr Winkler has 25 years worth of experience on the railways. He developed an interest in model railways a few years ago.

“When I came into it Angus had already started the concept with the kids,” he said.

“We broke the kids into two groups and Angus would have one and I’d have the other.

“We’d do different things with them, for example, I would be teaching the kids to lay the trackwhile Angus would be teaching the kids how to build the scenery.

“Angus specialised in making the trees.”

Mr Webster has been interested in model trains since his father bought him a train set at the age of 11.

Mr Winkler is an avid volunteer and said volunteering was rewarding and gave retirees a path to give back to their community.

He volunteers with Beresfield Community Transport and helps at a local church.

“You have to have something to do and you meet different people on the transport side of it,” he said.

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