I had to go to Sydney today to sign some papers after getting a call last night from the real estate agent selling our Sydney home. Driving from Canberra to Sydney and back in a day (that's seven hours all up) isn't my idea of fun until I realised that the Beecroft Model Railway Exhibition was on this weekend. Amazingly enough, the M2 tollway exits onto Pennant Hills Road not far from where the exhibition was being held!
Not one to let opportunity pass one by, I managed to spend a couple of hours at the exhibition to make the trip to Sydney really well worth the effort.
The exhibition was held in a small hall on the corner of Copeland Street and busy Beecroft Road. I parked the car at the railway station car park and walked the short way to the hall. The hall was one of those special buildings trapped in a time warp from the past (i.e. my early childhood) but nevertheless functional for a small exhibition such as this. There was also a second-hand stall where I picked up a copy of Ron Preston's book on the 32 class for $40 - thank you very much!
I have included a sample photo of each of the layouts on display, minus a possible "Thomas" layout that I think was in a separate foyer off to the side of the main hall.
The first layout that greeted visitors upon entering the hall was the US-prototype layout Springfield in HO scale. I hadn't seen this layout before. The layout featured some nice kit-built industries and townscape while keeping the punters happy with plenty of train movement. The layout was operated using NCE DCC hand-held controllers. When not in use, the controllers fit between the two knobs on the side of the layout as illustrated in the first photo (lower left).
Next to Grischun was the well-crafted Mullet Creek layout in HO scale from Geoff Small. Mullet Creek shows some lovely waterway scenery based on the Hawkesbury River area north of Sydney. This layout also featured catenary and, like the prototype, always seems to get in the way when taking photos!
I had such an enjoyable time that I didn't notice that two hours had passed and we had to be on our way up the road to Hornsby and the real estate agents, stopping at MicroModels Hobbyland to pick up the fishbelly MLV produced by IDR castings (the last one in the shop folks!). Ian is casting some more of these MLV kits so make sure you get one this time around.
The drive home to Canberra was uneventful. I was so bored with the drive and keen to get home that I didn't even stop at Goulburn for the habitual scan of Goulburn railway yard and station. Nevertheless, the Beecroft Model Railway Exhibition gave the trip some entertaining focus and was well worth the look.