Return of the Matchstick Man
Published by Neil Shaefer for Railway Housing Association in Housing and also in Communities
George Day with his latest creation
A man who spends hours making intricate matchstick models of some of his favourite trains has unveiled his latest creation.
George Day, who lives in Tempest Anderson House, Brinkburn Road, Darlington, took up his unusual hobby following a life-time of working on the railways.
Over the years he has created dozens of models of the steam locomotives he worked on and his newest model is of a Class Q6 Locomotive. This was a “workhorse” of an engine that plied the tracks of North East England for over 50 years.
And before the paint is even dry on his latest creation, Mr Day has already started work on his next project, building a Tornado, a main line steam locomotive that was built in Darlington.
Mr Day, 90, said: It is time consuming and painstaking work, but it is something I get a great deal of pleasure from and it keeps me active, which is just as important.
“Sometimes I can spend a day making just one part of the model, such as the wheels, and because I am a perfectionist, if I am not happy with it then I throw it out and start all over again.”
Mr Day worked for the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) when he left school in Crook, aged 16. He was later transferred to work for British Rail at Bank Top Engine Shed in Darlington, where he worked for 25 years.
He started building replica locomotives from matchsticks when he and his wife Gwen moved to Tempest Anderson House - a sheltered housing scheme owned by Railway Housing Association.
Previously he had made much bigger replica engines using wood, but as he was no longer able use the machinery needed to make these, he started crafting the replicas from matchsticks. He can use thousands of matchsticks to make just one train.
Mr Day added: “I actually worked on many of the models I have built so they are an important piece of history to me and it’s nice to be able to share them with my family and friends, and in the future I may also exhibit them.
“I don’t keep track of how many hours, days, weeks, months or years have gone into my model making but I have no plans to stop just yet as I get so much enjoyment from it.”