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Cuban inspiration for model railway

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Old 11th November 2005, 16:57
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Cuban inspiration for model railway

A MODEL railway of the Caribbean island of Cuba, carefully built in Great Missenden, has been given pride of place in a museum in Havana.
Peter Smith, of Rook Wood Way, mixed his life-long interest in model railways and his passion for Castro's exotic island to create his masterpiece.
After taking his creation on a tour of model railway shows across the country he was contacted by the Cuban museum after it was featured in the Continental Modeller magazine.

Mr Smith jumped at the chance to put his version of Havana on permanent exhibition in the island that inspired him.
He said: "I have had a life-long interest in model railways. I first visited Cuba with my wife in 2000. It is one of the last countries in the world to have steam engines.
"I fell in love with the country and decided to build a model."
Mr Smith spent two years building his version of the island which is not a scale model but Mr Smith's own vision of Cuba, comprising known landmarks and trains from across the actual island.
The model, in scale, was taken apart piece by piece and shipped across the ocean free of charge by Virgin Atlantic.
Mr Smith, a long standing member of the High Wycombe and District Model Railway Society, said without their support the project could not have got off the ground, or touched down in Havana.
He said: "It would have cost at least 800 from England, but they took it completely free of charge."
When Mr Smith was contacted by the National Model Railway Museum of Cuba he was pleased to hear they wanted to give his railway a home.
He said he told them: "You work out how to get it there and you can have it."

Mr Smith travelled to the museum last month to help set up the safely imported railway exhibit. The museum is holding a festival to highlight the model railway world this month, which both Mr Smith, and his wife Jenny, will be attending.


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