After boarding a bus during the weekend rally and a short drive around suburban Carterton we arrived at Rosebrook Railway. Lee and Christine Collett purchased their first garden railway starter set way back in 2005 and decided to set it up under their lovely old silver birch tree which would provide much needed shade during the hot Wairarapa summers. Four truckloads of soil were needed to form hills, and the layout has evolved with a European flavour – all the buildings were imported from Germany.
The rack railway is the most recent addition and climbs from the bottom up a very steep track to an alpine area. The train is similar to the Fell engine which was used on the Rimutaka Incline.
As any train enthusiast knows, one set-up is not enough, and the Hydrangea Tram Line is a mixture of city culture and country living. Half buildings were purchased and placed against the house. The tram whizzes past the busy market in front of the shops, and then continues on around a windmill with bags of flour stacked outside.
Lee was keen to expand his rail empire into an industrial area where he could run his larger trains. But first a purpose built shed had to be built to store the trains, rolling stock, and movable accessories.
The new layout runs from the storage shed, around an oval in the back yard, then through the fence to pass by the timber mill.
There was a lot to look at and admire, and after a while some of us ladies (and a couple of men) were just happy to have a little sit down in the shade.
Then we discovered that Lee and Christine show cats. Just look at this magnificent specimen, a Maine Coon. He is only young, but already about ten times bigger than our little Muffy. They also own a couple of American Bobtail cats, but they were snoozing in the shady run and not coming out for a photo shoot. Read about this interesting breed here.
After a very interesting afternoon we boarded the bus again and had a bit of a tiki tour before heading back to camp. Rosebrook Garden Railway is not open every day, only opening up for groups such as ours from time to time. We were very grateful to Lee and Christine to opening up their garden railway for our group of happy campers, and sharing their enthusiasm with us.