Wondering if we could make two exhibitions at opposite ends of Melbourne with nothing but public transport, boy wonder and I headed off early (07:19 hours) from Ballarat station on a joint VL34 – VL04 (with VL 1234 trailing the consist) to Southern Cross.
Quickly moving over to platform 12 we picked up the suburban service and headed off a few minutes later.
Sandown Park railway station is on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines in the South-East of the city. Roughly an hour out-of-town we arrived at the gates of the exhibition at 09:55 hours.
With the crowds already building and the exhibition opening at 10:00 AM we were pleasantly surprised with how they managed to move the crowd quickly through the racecourse turnstiles; our experience was smooth and speedy.
By 10:10 we were inside and looking around. Now onto the exhibition report.
Overall I was disappointed; mainly because I want to see layouts at a model railway exhibition. I understand that vendor support is critical to the running of all shows that want to be around more than once. However, moving to an exhibition model that has few layouts and lots of vendors is not my idea of how to spend 10 dollars adult and five dollars a child, plus fares/fuel and maintenance. Unfortunately this is what Sandown is; a vendor fest. I’ve not been for a couple of years and have no intention of returning until the list of layouts are more numerous.
The verdict: If you want to buy something then you should be there. If you want to look at new and exciting layouts, I’m sorry but this is not the place to be.
- There were many large layouts, among which boy wonder delighted in the Lego display. Big and well done. Nice one Lego lads and lassies.
- Neil Cowie’s Northern Pacific – a basic 4 x 8 with two 6 foot wings on opposing corners. This was the first run of Neil’s layout on the exhibition circuit, and what I saw I liked. The group he is a member of will be holding an open day in April I believe. More about that in another post.
- Leopold – while a roundy-roundy had a lot of interesting track and operational potential. The modelling was very good.
- Finally; Ravenswood was again another roundy-roundy with excellent topography and scenery and I believe based on an actual location here in Victoria (I’m from Sydney remember).
Sandown to Kyneton
We left the exhibition at 11:30 and headed over to the station, which is a walk of only a couple of minutes. Then a suburban train back to Southern Cross (that required a little work since the train was 9 minutes down and finished at Flinders St). Due to the late running train we missed our connection to Bendigo and had to wait an hour for the next train. On time our Velocity’s left Southern Cross at 13:37 heading for Kyneton. The run down to Kyneton was speedy with few stops, but the track left something to be desired with several kinks throwing the train and passengers about.
Kyneton station is beautiful. An old fashioned bluestone edifice that says Victorian Railways from the foundation up; modernised of course but still lovely. Arriving on time at 14:39 we walked the 1100 metres to the venue (which crosses a river and beside the town’s botanic garden) to the venue.
Kyneton is not a small exhibition, nor is it a large one. Well supported by the vendors it’s the layouts that rule the show. Suffice to say that Kyneton is my preferred long-weekend model rail show. They seem to attract great modellers to the club and have a great selection of layouts every year.
The verdict: Kyneton is the go-to exhibition on the March long-weekend. If you’ve not been before I suggest that you put it in your diary and take a trip on the train out with boy-wonder and I next year.
- Glyn Halt – a simple narrow gauge layout shown on the blog before.
- Great Colne – a freelanced North British layout this is a work in progress, but it looks like a real cracker. I am looking forward to seeing this finished at next years show.
- Alexandra – wow – nothing more needs be said, except that this is what Sandown should have had.
Colinsville Riverland Railroad Company – a great little whimsy, with outstanding modelling and imagination.
- Beechy – an 0n30 masterpiece with great scenery and modelling making an eye-catching package
- Town and Country – first seen at the Albury (Laverton) show in 2015 still a great layout after seeing it at several shows recently.
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