The Illawarra Live Steamers gathered for its monthly working bee on Saturday morning, only for members to find two steam locomotives had been stolen from their shed.
The trains, weighing in at a combined 150 kilograms, are believed to have been stolen from the North Wollongong miniature railway sometime late last week.
Heartless thieves also made off with a host of tools including electric drills and battery chargers.
President Greg Coleman said the stolen gear was worth at least $10,000 - a hefty amount to a group entirely staffed by volunteers.
“The group is run by retirees and we rely on our monthly open days for funding,” he said.
“We’re a not-for-profit organisation so $10,000 to us is a lot of money”.
Police attended the premises on Saturday and Mr Coleman said they were now investigating.
“They [the thieves] managed to get into the shed and take quite a few things,” he said.
“It’s definitely not something that would have been easy to do - the trains are very heavy to carry so it’s not like they could have walked off with them.”
The trains, a free-lance Australian model and an English vehicle, had been part of the club’s display for at least a decade.
The items were stored in the shed in between the group’s open days.
Wollongong Police confirmed on Saturday that they were looking into the incident.
Anyone with information should contact Wollongong Police.