It's addictive apparently. And it traverses the generations.
Ask the Oldfields. Dad Mike Oldfield built a model railway for his son when he was a boy.
Now the son's about 50 and starting on a beginner's N gauge railway, scale 1:148-1:160, with his own son.
So, two and a bit generations of model railway enthusiasts in one family.
“That's how it goes, isn't it?” says Mike. “Once you start, you quickly get drawn into it. And every man has a bit of a fascination for trains. They'd be fibbing if they said they didn't.”
And to feed that fascination, the Tauranga Model Railway Club is holding its popular show at the Otumoetai Sports and Recreation Club rooms at Fergusson Park tomorrow and Sunday between 10am-4pm.
There will be 10 or 11 working layouts, including Thomas and Friends, at the show. Even the stage space becomes model train land. “Gets pretty busy, especially with the school holidays,” says Mike. “The kids love it – driving and shunting on the drive-a-train layout. It's something that's moving and they have control over. Even then, they just love watching.”
Everything on display at the Tauranga Model Railway Club show is made with care and attention to detail to mimic the real thing. And to show how that's achieved, the club will be demonstrating model-making and scenery-making.
The club has about 30 members, meeting weekly on a Thursday night at their Sulphur Point clubrooms. Members can run their own rolling stock on the club's layouts or use the club's rolling stock for their own entertainment. Different scale engines and rolling stock are available.
“You can get a simple starter layout – loco and rails – for $200-300,” says Mike. “But a seasoned enthusiast may pay $400-500 for an English model loco with sound, smoke and lights.”
The Tauranga Model Railway Club show is at the Otumoetai Sports and Recreation Club rooms, Fergusson Park tomorrow and Sunday, October 7-8, between 10am-4pm.