I spent much of today at the Sydney Model Railway Exhibition. Tomorrow I will go to the NMRA Convention. I had initially thought I could spend the first half of the day at the exhibition and then I could drive from Liverpool to Castle Hill for the afternoon session of the Convention. It was not to be; there were simply too many layouts, trade stands, and people to catch up with at the exhibition. Moreover, the exhibition was absolutely packed out!
The exhibition featured a couple of really great layouts. The best was the 7mm (O scale) layout, Stringybark Creek. The layout represents an area of the NSW north coast in the period 1950-65. On display were a standard goods and a nineteen class steam locomotive, plus a delightful 400 class railmotor. The layout had some excellent scenery, especially the buildings. I really loved the Norco dairy factory, the pub, and the trestle bridge.
The other super quality layout was A Tracktiv Effort by Peter Lewis. The layout is 5.6 metres in length, enclosed in the plexiglass showcase style like his former layout. Peter was responsible for the superb Time and Patience layout. This new layout is in the same mould - a Newcastle (NSW) suburban scene with excellent structures and the inevitable corner petrol station, with trains running in the background, albeit on a double track this time around. I can't say I like the name of this layout but I can say I do like the layout itself.
The third top quality layout on display was Eskbank. This wasn't the first time I'd seen this layout at the Sydney exhibition, but it is always interesting to watch. The layout is circa 1899 and is based on Eskbank near Lithgow in NSW. The "olden days" locos and rollingstock are certainly of unique interest compared to the modern image of today and the steam-diesel transition era preferred by most modellers. The station building and loco depot are really superb and are a great credit to the builder, David Low.
A new layout, Wallerawang, was being exhibited for the first time from the Guildford Model Railway Group in Sydney (not the layout by Jack Parker featured recently in an issue of AMRM). The exhibition layout is 6.5 metres in length and based on the station and yard at Wallerawang on the Main Western line in NSW (actually, not far from Lithgow).
The large generic prototype layout (but really US-based) from the Coffs Harbour Modellers' Group was also on display and presented exceptionally well, especially with the self-enclosed lighting that really showcased the layout to maximum effect. Similarly well lit and presented was the much smaller but superbly modelled Plainview (On30), a diorama style North American freelance bush logging layout from Viv Farrow.
Old favourites making another exhibition appearance included Brunswick Park, Dirt, Dungog, Galong, Jembaicumbene, Smaldon Curve, and Tarana.
The floorplan included in my blog post yesterday gives details of all the layouts and trade stands (so I won't mention everything I saw today). However, it was good to see that the four main Australian r-t-r locomotive and rollingstock manufacturers were there - Auscision, Austrains, Eureka, and Trainorama. Other notable Australian model railway suppliers were Antons Trains, Balmain Drawingboard, Bergs Hobbies, Casula Hobbies, Chuck's Ballast Supplies, Frate-N, Gwyder Valley Models, IDR kits, InFront Models, Kerroby Models, Kieran Ryan Models, O-Aust kits, On Track Models, Powerline, and VR models from the Victorian Hobby Centre.
My only gripe with the exhibition was the generally poor lighting. Because the sports arena had such a high ceiling, and the flourescent lights attached directly to the ceiling rather than hanging down, the overall lighting within the building was not great. Where layouts did not provide their own lighting, or sufficient lighting, the full impact of the layout was compromised, IMHO.
Tomorrow, the NMRA Convention...