Wednesday, 22 September 2010

SAR Convention 2010 Report

Sorry for the delay in reporting back on the Modelling the Railways of South Australia Convention held a couple of weekends ago in Adelaide.

The 2010 Convention was really great this year. We had some first class presentations, including a wonderful photo presentation and explanation of the famous Moping Branch layout. The Moping Branch layout was featured in a couple of AMRM articles well over 20 years ago. A DVD of the layout was also on sale for $20 and I was one of the lucky ones to buy a copy before they sold out on the day!

The other featured presentations included:
  •  the 720 class steam locomotive
  • the Wilmington line
  • the Indian Pacific cars
  • SAR models I've built by the mercurial Frank Kelly
  • stepdown platforms
  • building resin structure kits
In addition to the presentations, I managed to catch up with regular attendees from South Australia (Les Fordham, Paul Dolan, Peter Knife, and Greg), Melbourne (Kym and David), and Sydney (Bob, Ian, and Es). I also had a good chat with several others as well, including Don Bishop who did the presentation on the Moping Branch.

The 2010 Convention was the 15th and I have been going every year since 1998, missing only one Convention in that time. Once again, the annual Convention notes were a high quality product. I now have four thick volumes of truly exceptional historical articles and photographs dealing with both the South Australian Railways (SAR) and Commonwealth Railways (CR).

On the Sunday, the day after the Convention, I went to the National Rail Museum (formerly known as the Port Dock Railway Museum) at Port Adelaide. The Museum had a sale of railway memorabilia and train magazines in the morning. I bought a Working Timetable from the early 1970s.

Mid-morning saw me off to Kev Kavanagh's home to see his beautiful Huntingdale model railway. The layout is a two level point-to-point layout based on the SAR. When I download the photos from my camera I will put a couple up on the blog.

The afternoon saw me back at the National Railway Museum. I had a good look around, taking a few photos along the way. Bob Gallagher (former Managing Editor of AMRM) had asked me to track down and photograph a wooden LCL container at the Museum. Thankfully, I found it OK inside an SAR bogie open wagon with a couple of of the traditional steel LCL containers for company.

I took a couple of days leave this trip and on Monday (13th September) I drove up to Crystal Brook hoping to see plenty of train action. At Crystal Brook, some shunting was taking place at the grain silos; unfortunately using tractor power rather than loco power. As it turned out, the weather turned overcast so I didn't stay too long. I did see a Perth-Melbourne intermodal speed through Crystal Brook with a couple of QR locos on the front - a 6000 class and a LDP. I ended up getting a photo of the train at Snowtown. I returned to Adelaide via Clare before the weather really let loose with strong winds and a torrential downpour of rain.

That night I had been invited to an operating session of the Belair layout at the home of Hugh Williams. This layout was a multi-ringed layout featuring SAR and Victorian Railways (VR) prototypes. There were about seven operators on the layout, albeit I had a personal coach with me to help me run my timetabled set of trains (thanks, Steve). Photos to come shortly....

The two home layouts I visited, as was the Moping Branch, were multi-level and multi-track but without the double-deck configuration I mostly see in US model railroad magazines. All three layouts used a card operating system based on the system developed by the ABLO group from the 1960's-1970s. The three layouts looped at least twice and the multi-levels remained visible, even though each level was independent of each other in terms of the fictional geography of the layout. In that sense, they were similar in style to Bob Stack's South Coast Rail.

I didn't find the visible multi-levels at all distracting as I concentrated on running my individual trains around the layouts. I am now seriously looking at this option for my home layout since it gives the extra running length without taking up too much space and/or relying on space-hugging helixes to elevate tracks to the higher level.

All in all, I had a great time in Adelaide. Thank you one and all.

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