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Model Railway Club ‘devastated’ after thief steals 84 tiny trains from King’s Cross HQ

PUBLISHED: 16:07 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:22 26 October 2017

The model trains were made by the late Bill Blackburn. Picture: David Everleigh

The model trains were made by the late Bill Blackburn. Picture: David Everleigh

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Islington’s miniature train enthusiasts are appealing for help in finding a haul of handmade models after they were stolen from a van near King’s Cross station.

Some of Bill Blackburn's model trains. Picture: Timothy WatsonSome of Bill Blackburn's model trains. Picture: Timothy Watson

The 81 wagons and three coaches were taken from outside The Model Railway Club’s headquarters in Calshot Street at 8.30pm on October 15.

Volunteers were unloading the vehicle after visiting an exhibition in Peterborough when a thief pinched a case containing the 84 pieces from the unoccupied front seat. Each one is about the size of a thumb.

Club president, 62-year-old Tim Watson, told the Gazette: “These wagons were made to fit our unique miniature railway model, and to lose them is terrible.”

The trains, which have an insurance value of a few thousand pounds, have significant sentimental significance for the club and the family of the late Bill Blackburn, who produced them, Tim said.

The Model Railway Club has been at it's King's Cross headquarters since 1960. Picture: Tim WatsonThe Model Railway Club has been at it's King's Cross headquarters since 1960. Picture: Tim Watson

“They are his memory to the family of what he had made over many, many years of railway modelling,” he said.

“Any old fool can go and buy commercial wagons but these were handmade and that’s a very big difference.”

Susan Blackburn, 52, told the Gazette her father’s trains were due to be passed down to his grandchildren at the end of this year.

“We are as a family very, very upset that his engines and wagons have been stolen,” she said.

"These items were made with great love and painstaking care, and were going to be given to Bill’s grandchildren – to keep forever as a memento of their grandfather."

Susan Blackburn

“These items were made with great love and painstaking care, and were going to be given to Bill’s grandchildren – to keep forever as a memento of their grandfather.”

The club and Susan are appealing for anyone with information to step forward. They believe the thief may have dumped the black, aluminium case after realising it contained trains, not electronics.

“It would be great if people could help us out by looking out for it,” said Tim.

The club reported the theft to police the same evening, but aren’t expecting officers to have much luck finding the culprit, or the goods. There is no CCTV footage of the robbery.

Each of the 84 model trains is about the size of a thumb. Picture: Tim WatsonEach of the 84 model trains is about the size of a thumb. Picture: Tim Watson

Instead, they are appealing using their own tracks of communication to try and bring the trains home.

“The theft has been publicised to our membership, through social media and in model railway magazines,” he said.

“The loss of the models has been very well publicised throughout the UK and all over Europe.”

A Met spokeswoman confirmed cops were called to the theft, but said no one had been arrested and no one knew what the thief looked like.

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