What a weekend, what a week! Fresh back from a weekend away for the Toowoomba Model Trains & Hobby Expo, my layout is back from its 430 km round trip from Caloundra and awaiting its next trip in the back of our car. This time, to a new address as I am moving house in a week. Considering that this will be the third time in five weeks I will have to lug the layout down five flights of stairs, you can forgive me for not having made any progress on the new extension since the Brisbane Model Train Show in May.
|A behind the scenes view before the crowds arrive. From here it almost looks as big as Southern Highlands!|
While I've visited Toowoomba in the past, I'd never actually driven up the range to see the Toowoomba Model Train Show before now. So packing a suitcase along with the layout in the back of the Mondeo, Denise and I made a weekend of it and stayed two nights at a motel in the heart of town. Once again I set the layout up so that the incomplete extension acted as hidden staging for the weekend. And although I was disappointed that the new scene still wasn't ready to be shown off, this time I paid a little more attention to what worked on my layout over the weekend. And what didn't. But first, here's a few snaps of some of my favourite layouts that were on display over the weekend. As you can see, the quality of layouts on display at the Toowoomba Model Trains & Hobby Expo was exceptionally high.
|I spent all weekend looking across at the Southern Highlands, and this photo shows just 1/3 of the layout!|
|Victoria Creek was a small Queensland sugar milling layout I was glad to see again as I hadn't seen it for years.|
|One of my all-time favourite layouts Splitters Swamp Creek was there at Toowoomba. Just look at that backdrop!|
|The HOn31/2 scale Stannumvale is perhaps the nicest-looking Queensland layout I've ever seen. What an amazing station!|
|The Moreton N Scale group were also at Toowoomba with their gem of a layout.|
|And finally Philden, my little layout as viewed from the road side of the railway station.|
A lot of regular South East Queensland attendees all made a very similar comment over the course of the weekend. They all liked looking at the layout from the street side of the railway station. I was told how watching the 2 car Xplorer train glide to a stop at the platform was a bit like train watching in real life. And I also heard how having the trains disappear completely from view behind the scene, (as opposed to last year when I operated from the front and the trains just stopped on a visible shelf) made the layout appear bigger. Funny that, I would have thought it would have been the complete opposite. Also, behind the scenes I found my 3 track extension a little clumsy to operate over the course of the weekend. When you're trying to change locos and wagons at various points of the day to keep what's running looking fresh, there wasn't really the room to do so. It has got me thinking about the basic design of the extension, particularly given that there is going to be some platform edging to come alongside the mainline. So stay tuned, there may be another twist in how this gets completed.
The weekend as a whole was an awesome experience. From our three-and-a-half hour drive there from the Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba via Kilcoy with our country mix tape blaring, Pepsi-Max cans in hand and Caramello Koalas at the ready, to our 2 night stay at Potter's Boutique Hotel in Margaret Street where Denise and I enjoyed a romantic dinner on the Friday night. Being positioned beside our friends Stuart and Mardi's store and layout for the weekend also made it easier for us to plan our Saturday night dinner out. For something different we all dined in town at Al Attar Middle Eastern Grill. So what is an event like the Toowoomba Model Trains & Hobby Expo worth to a city like Toowoomba? All up, taking Philden to Toowoomba pumped over $500 into the local economy, and that's all money spent outside of the actual venue.
By Sunday, Denise had discovered that the Toowoomba Wine Show was being held next door in the Glenvale Room, so I lost her from about 11.30 am to close to 3 pm. When she returned, she duly declared this the best train show we have ever been to, and asked if we are coming back next year. I had plans to take Philden to an interstate show in Sydney in 2019, but as I write this, our friends Stuart and Mardi are on their way south to the Epping Model Railway Club Show at Rosehill for back-to-back exhibition weekends. Which gets me thinking... if we were to take a week off work, we could do Toowoomba again next year before heading south for a few nights holiday and finish the week at Rosehill in Sydney. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if the Wine Show was on again at the same time.
So anyway, you'll have to excuse the lack of posts in the coming months, I have an apartment to pack and a number of small projects to complete on the layout in time for my next two model train shows in August. Till next time, take care!