I have a belated report on the AMRA Caulfield Model Railway Exhibition from the weekend of 20-21 August. It was so good to be back after all the Covid-19 cancellations of the two previous years. The layouts on show had something to offer everyone, so let's get started with the layouts that caught my eye over the two days of the event. Click on the photos to expand.
Maryborough (HO scale) was clearly the standout Australian prototype layout. I've seen the layout before but it is truly a masterpiece. The station building, as you can see, is an amazing structure. The layout was constructed by the members of AMRA (Victoria Branch) to represent the station and surrounds from the post WWII era until 1962. The layout featured a wide range of locomotives and rolling stock over the weekend and no matter what was running, I enjoyed every minute of this layout.
Another Australian layout from AMRA (Victoria Branch) was the HO scale Murri layout. Murri is a generic southeastern Australian prototype layout with trains running from the early 20th century to moden day. The station area is a busy scene with plenty of through running, passenger trains, and yard workings.
Borderline (HO scale) was an HO scale generic Australian layout based on a fictional location on the border of Victoria and South Australia. As such, you can see plenty of interstate action on this layout.
The Peterborough Line (HO scale) has two signature scenes: the Light River Bridge (at Hamley Bridge) and Gumbowie. Both of these iconic scenes are no longer around on the prototype but it is good to see them represented in model form with this layout.
Tallarook (HO scale) was another great Australian prototype layout, based on the Victorian main northeast line. Tallarook is the junction of the Mansfield and Alexandra branch lines. The layout featured some superb scenery (especially the trees) as well as a good variety of trains.
The Epping Model Railway Club made the journey south to Melbourne with their exhibition layout, Binalong (HO scale). Binalong is in New South Wales on the Main South between Sydney and Melbourne. As such, it sees plenty of train action.
Turning to a Victorian-themed N scale layout, Billabong Flat was a lovely little layout featuring a rural terminus staion and reail yard. The compact size of the layout (1.6m x 0.6m) demonstrated how much fun you can have with N scale in such a small amount of space. I had a good chat with the layout owner who impressed upon me how far Australian N scale modelling had come over the years. Might be a good reason to attend the Australian N Scale Convention in Goulburn in October!
A layout showing good potential was Skipton (Victorian, HO scale). The layout was originally built in 2017 by a group of high school students and is based on the prototype station of the same name. It is a terminus station with turntable and a run-around siding. Actually, if I was to model a Victorian place myself, Skipton would be high on my list.
Electric Car Sheds (NSW, HO scale) showcases electric rail transport and suburban coaching stock based on a typical Sydney electric train maintenance depot. You can see a wonderful variety of electric traction on show with this layout.
Cheakamus Canyon (HO scale) is based on the prototype in British Columbia, Canada. The layout is a scenic extravaganza and features four marvellous bridge scenes replicating actual locations on the railroad. The vertical scenery in particular is a real standout for this layout.
Moving to O scale, Paradise Valley was a wonderful On30 layout from the Puffing Billy Modellers' Group. The layout is based on the Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook narrow gauge line in the 1950s. The layout and scenery are superb. The name Paradise Valley is the original name of Clematis station.
Black Stump (On 30) was another wonderful layout based on Victorian narrow gauge of the Otway Ranges. I'd seen this layout before at the Ballarat Exhibition a few months ago but it is one layout you can see several times and still admire the scenery and workmanship.
Eddington Quay (O/16.5) was a 7mm narrow gauge layout based on a secluded cove on the Devon Cornwall border. Using 16.5mm trck gives a prototype gauge of 2' 3''. This is a nicely presented layout with some wonderful buildings. The steam locos (and some freight stock) were kits built from the Smallbrook Studio range.
Another O scale layout was Daraby (British) that featured steam and diesel traction on an ened-to-end shunting layout. This layout really showed the detail and operational attributes of the larger scale.
Allanleigh (OO scale, British) was one of my favourite layouts from the exhibition. Allanleigh is a fictitious UK village set in the late 1960s-early 1970s period. This layout is another terminus station but with good shunting operations servicing two local industry sidings. This layout is DCC (Digitrax) and operated by smart phones over wi-fi. I enjoyed spending time at this layout and had an enjoyable chat with one of the lads on Sunday morning.
One of my other favourite layouts (and representing a new model railway interest for me) was the European-based layout Neubahn. The layout was built to an adapted version of European FREMO modular standards. Neubahn features a double track mainline with through station. The layout can be controlled by DC or DCC but the catenary (very nicely done) is not powered. The layout showcases a range of European HO scale trains from Roco, Brawa, Fleischmann, Rivarossi, REE Models, ACME, and LS Models. The buildings came from commercial European kits that looked the part with some light weathering. I really enjoyed watching the range of trains on the Neubahn layout with action from Austrian, Dutch, French, German (including DR), Italian and Swiss prototypes.
Making another exhibition appearance was Railways of Japan. I'd seen this N scale layout in Ballarat earlier in the year but the detail on this layout is such that you can always find something you'd missed from a previous viewing.
The exhibition gave plenty of opportunity to spend hard-earned money with a plethora of commercial trade stands. The SDS Models NSW 81 class in candy livery was on sale and looked superb. The blue units should be on their way soon. IDR Models Victorian Railways DERM (upcoming) also looked to be popular based on the amount of interest around the trade stand. And Auscision had a number of display models from their upcoming HO scale and N scale models that certainly drew a good many eyeballs! Casula Models were also in attendance where I spent some money on several packs of KD couplers. Other stands that I noticed were Eureka Models, Brunel Hobbies, Pallas Hobbies, Train World, SEM, Buckambool, On Track Models, and Metro Hobbies. The AMRA second-hand stall did a roaring trade based on my frequent visits to check out how turnover of stock was progressing.
The AMRA Victoria Branch are to be congratulated for another fine exhibition.