Fascination with trains and railways is a world-wide phenomenon which attracts adults as well as children. The Darling Downs Model Railway Club is no exception, with most of the 100 members hailing from Toowoomba. From as young as eight, local and overseas enthusiasts are of all skill levels, from simply reading about trains to hands-on modelling. Since 1987, the club has been creating and displaying model exhibitions and teaching others how to make their own.
Currently located at the Toowoomba Showgrounds, the layouts include a variety of real locations such as Conway Castle on the north coast of Wales and James Town. The favourite layout with visitors at the moment is the red Christmas train, complete with presents.
The tracks are electric while each train is fitted with a small computer. When a hand-held control unit is plugged into the display the number of a specific train is dialled to start it moving. After unplugging, trains continue to run as programmed until the 'stop' function is keyed into the unit.
The current favourite train.
Bring the trains to life with your children, using the hands-on display. See if you can stop the train at the station correctly. Volunteers are more than happy to assist and answer any questions you may have. Who knows? Maybe you will start a new hobby.
Running the trains can run-up electricity costs. Modest membership and entry fees help pay the bills.
Train Talk is a charming and information packed, free monthly magazine produced by the club. This is your go-to mag for model building, with ads for kits, the various types of trains that can be created and tips and tricks on modelling. News and stories on modelling displays around the world describe the experiences of other modellers. Complimentary copies of Model Railways in Australia are available at the exhibition.
Come along for the sheer delight of watching these lovingly-built models chug around the tracks. For a small donation, it's a wonderful and fun interest to keep the family away from the television over the Christmas holidays.