Business · 6 Mar 2021

Train Shop Move Full Steam Ahead

Aimee Wilson

Aimee Wilson


One of Southland’s most interesting train and model shops is moving north as the business continues to expand in size.

040 Trains and Models was opened in Makarewa by former share milkers Tom and Donna Frew in 2006, and the couple have never looked back.

The die-cast model shop stocks trains and accessories from brands all over the world, and has received such a following that they are moving to Ashburton to be closer to all the attention.

As well as their big move on April 9 they will be attending the South Island Agricultural Field Days in Canterbury, both the Wanaka A&P show and Wheels at Wanaka event, and the Mackenzie Country show.

That’s quite a busy schedule for the couple and hence why Canterbury is a better fit for their business – which has doubled in size since they started.

Their Makarewa shop has now closed as they prepare to pack up and move – with the new property also having to be fitted out so they can reopen again.

Tom’s passion has always been trains, and when the couple moved to Makarewa and had 60 acres to play with, there was the opportunity to build a proper train layout.

There aren’t many stockists in New Zealand that have all the die-cast models that people love, so the Frew’s starting bringing them in from America, as well as connecting with wholesalers.

Donna said they might have done it “a wee bit backwards,” as they didn’t have a shop or a frontage at that stage, but securing the ongoing stock was an important first move.

They have all the brands such as Bachmann, Hornby, Preiser and even the popular Siku diecast models for the kids.

Interestingly enough, tractors and agricultural layouts have proved very popular sellers in Southland, as well as the trains – so who knows what the next trend will be when they move.

“There is a lot of people that are passionate for models.”

In the meantime, you can still find them on their website and be sure to keep a look out for them around the South Island at the shows, and the Dunedin Model Train Show in May.