Tuesday, 23 February 2010

NZ Model Railway Convention

While there remains some uncertainty and inertia over the future of my Australian model railway layout (Winmar), I am pleased to report that I will be attending the New Zealand Model Railway Convention in Christchurch in April.

I love New Zealand and over the years have visited many places on the North Island, and one great trip to the Marlborough region at the top of the South Island. Christchurch has been one city I have been keen to visit and I will spend a week there over Easter at the Convention and generally just looking around. I will even get to visit Ironhorse Hobbies in Christchurch, an advertiser in the Australian Model Railway Magazine.

I have also been a member of the New Zealand Model Railway Guild for some years now. I hope to meet some Guild members at the Convention in Christchurch.

Many New Zealand prototype modellers model to 3/16" to the foot scale (S scale) and I am keen to see some layouts in this scale during the layout tours. The New Zealand prototype railway has a track guage of 3'6'', a pretty common narrow gauge track for Australasia.

I have often thought that S scale is a good compromise between HO and O scales. In Australia, S scale is popular among prototype modellers of the Western Australian Government Railways (WGR) and Queensland Railways (QR). The Western Australia and Queensland prototype railways have historically been narrow gauge (3'6") railways and S scale modelling (Sn3 1/2) allows for the use of the common HO scale (16.5mm) track. Interestingly, the narrow gauge (3'6") prototype modellers in South Australia and Tasmania have generally favoured HO scale and a model railway gauge of HOn3 1/2 (12mm). I have no idea why these geographic differences have occurred in Australia but I'd be keen for someone to put forward an intelligent explanation!

At the same time, there have been some excellent smaller scale (N120, for example) New Zealand prototype models featured in the Guild's New Zealand Model Railway Journal. While I readily admit that the smaller scale is a tad too small for me these days, I can certainly appreciate good quality modelling in any scale and in any prototype.

Registration is still open for the New Zealand Model Railway Convention. The Convention takes place in the first week of April. The early bird rate (NZ $80) is available until 28th February and after that the rate increases to NZ $100. Unfortunately for us overseas people, credit card payments can't be made. However, payment can still be made by direct credit (details on registration form) or by going to your local Australian bank branch and getting a cheque drawn in NZ dollars.

If any other Aussies are interested in a different modelling experience, please visit the Convention website for all details and a registration form. Maybe I will see you there...

1 comment:

  1. In Queensland and Western Australia 3’6” was the dominant gauge with only a small section of Standard Gauge track intruding into those states.

    In Western Australia the SG track was far from Perth and thus the great majority of modelers have based their layouts on the local scene where there was no SG track, Thus the adoption of S scale for local models.

    In Queensland S scale was adopted by local modelers in the late 1950s.
    S scale modeling still has a following in Queensland

    But the SG track in Queensland ran into Brisbane with rollingstock from the other state systems and thus modeling in HO scale became popular with the increasing availability of rollingstock from NSW and other state systems.

    The South Australian modelers would have adopted HO scale as in that state 3’6” gauge was far from the capital and out of sight to the majority. As the majority modeled the BG the logical choice was to use the same scale for 3’6” models.

    The Tasmanians mainly adopted OO scale operating on HO track.
    This was seen as a compromise as existing OO/HO rollingstock could be adapted to something like the local

    This scale/gauge combination was also promoted in Queensland.

    Way back I built some QR rollingstock to OO scale to run on my Hornby Dublo layout.