A BUMPER collection of model trains dating back to the 19th century will come under the hammer today.
Enthusiast Leslie Almond, from Darras Hall, has built up his collection over nearly half-a-century.
Now it is estimated to make £40,000 to £60,000 when it is auctioned at a Model Railway and Toy Sale at Anderson and Garland in Newcastle.
There will be 500 lots of model trains, coaches, freight stock and other related items, including Hornby and collectable foreign brands.
Early Hornby trains dating back to before 1964 when the company was bought by Tri-Ang are particularly collectable. The maker produced its first clockwork train in the 1920s, but some of Mr Almond’s models pre-date that time.
He said: “I started collecting when my son was a boy scout when he was younger than ten, and he’s now 54.
“The scout group held a jumble sale to raise funds and there was a box of little trains, which we bought for him to play with. We both ended up playing with them.
“Once I started to add to the selection of models, I kept them in the loft, which was all floored out. It was quite a collection. I added to it, made models and altered models. It was my hobby and I didn’t stop collecting.
“Some of the pieces date to the early 1900s and even earlier. I had one that’s a locomotive without any workings inside that was made in 1896 in Germany.”
The 90-year-old, who worked as an agricultural merchant with no connection to the railways, collected trains from adverts and toy shops.
He was a member of the Border Counties group of Hornby collectors, but now suffers from Parkinson’s Disease so can no longer drive to meetings or enjoy his hobby as he used to.
“It means I’ve had to abandon the trains because I can no longer easily climb up into the loft. I’ll be sad to see them go,” he said.
The sale begins at Anderson and Garland in Westerhope today at 9.30am. For information, visit www.and ersonandgarland.com