For almost four decades the Orange scale railway has brought a touch of magic to leafy Matthews Park.
Tiny replica trains - some powered by real coal-fired steam engines worth up to $40,000 - haul pocket-sized carriages around almost one kilometre of track.
The $3 kids ride winds past a miniature station, ticket booth, signal box, and control lights, before crossing two bridges spanning the Blackmans Creek Swamp.
"It was great ... fun," said Riley, age four, at the most recent monthly meetup. "[I saw] water and bridges."
However, it hasn't always been such an extensive operation - and recent events mean the beloved attraction's future isn't guaranteed.
The first steel and scale-sleepers were laid in November 1983, after more than a year of planning, fundraising, and community consultation.
Construction of the future Orange-icon was highly contentions at the time, with one letter to this masthead declaring:
"I appeal to you to bombard this newspaper and your council with letter and protests until the wonton act of negligent destruction is defeated!"
The original layout was a simple 170 metre oval on the east-side of the creek, without any of the embellishments seen today (shown at top of page).
Several delays and hurdles meant the first public run didn't take place until March 1984, and the Orange Society of Model Engineers (OSME) was formed soon afterwards.
The first major addition was a timber signal box - to control routes and relay hazards - in 1986, built by local carpentry and joinery students at Orange TAFE.
In February 1992 a fixed roof - designed by Wal Thorncraft and built by Geoff Hoare - was dropped onto the station platform.
While new sections of track were added periodically over the next decade, the next significant instillation came in 2004: the first bridge.
"A bridge was in the original plans ... an attempt was made to purchase an ex-army Baily bridge in 1983 but this was not successful," club records reveal.
An underframe from a scrapped 1912 railway dog box was salvaged in 2002 to underpin the project, and was dropped into place by crane after almost two years of work.
The ticket booth was also added in 2004, and the railway reached its contemporary layout in 2014 with the addition on a second hand-built steel bridge.
Today the Orange Society of Model Engineers has 56 members, travelling from Lithgow, Sydney, and Canberra to run trains and work on the tracks.
Open days run on the second Saturday of every month, generally attracting between 600 and 1000 children and their families.
However, earlier this month it emerged the club had been hit with an unexpected 50 per cent hike to insurance premiums.
This forced organisers to hike ticket prices, and sparked fears any further increases could force the historic attraction to close.
"Unfortunately, with society the way it is ... they've been hammered with claims - It's seen as a good way to make a few dollars," club member Shane Austin said.
"Now the insurance companies don't necessarily want to cover us - it really knocked us around."
Councillor Tammy Greenhalgh has since revealed staff have reached out to the Orange Society of Model Engineers (OSME), and says she is "optimistic" a solution will be found.
"We'll do what we can to support them, because we'd hate to see this facility be without the miniature trains ... we really just want to keep [it] here."
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