IT WAS action stations for Harrogate's MP Phil Willis at Victoria Shopping Centre when he officially opened a new rail service for the town.
Regular Intercity traveller Mr Willis, signalled the arrival of a new train service – only this time in miniature – and was joined by Patrick Cox, who has charge of the full-sized railway station across the road.
With the opening of Modelzone – the latest store to come to the shopping centre – Mr Willis and Mr Cox enjoyed a return to childhood, by playing with the model train layout set up to mark the occasion.
Mr Willis, said: "I am delighted to be announcing the arrival of a new rail service to Harrogate…even if it is in miniature. It is always good to see new businesses move into the Victoria Shopping Centre.
"Even in these days of computer games and virtual reality model railways and all things miniature hold a fascination for the young and not so young so I am sure that Modelzone will prove to be just the ticket to attract even more shoppers into the centre."
Patrick Cox, who has worked on the railways for 21 years, has charge of Harrogate Station and all stations on the York to Leeds service for trains that come through Harrogate.
He made the family connection, following his father John into the same line of business.
Patrick said: "As part of Northern Rail's Community Partnerships Programme we are doing a lot of work with our neighbours and it's a pleasure to be able to visit Victoria Shopping Centre to catch up on developments there – particularly as a lot of the centre's customers are our customers."
As well as selling trainsets and the models to make the elaborate layouts that go with them, Modelzone provides a wide range of goods for model enthusiasts of all ages.
Shopping Centre manager David Horth, said: "It's tremendous to welcome store manager Robert Watson and his Modelzone crew aboard. They are well-trained and knowledgeable and I suppose you could call the shop a Victoria line extension."
He performed the opening ceremony with Patrick Cox, who manages Harrogate Railway Station for Northern Rail and they were joined by store manager Robert Watson.
Caption: MODEL EXAMPLE: Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Phil Willis lays it on the line at the opening of the new Modelzone store at Victoria Shopping Centre, Harrogate, when he sent miniature models of The Flying Scotsman and Mallard spinning around the track. He is with Patrick Cox, right, Harrogate Railway Station manager, and store manager Robert Watson.