My grandson is totally besotted with trains and of course, being his doting grandparents, hubby and I will do everything in our power to ensure our little man gets to experience trains in and around the Sunshine Coast.
I was totally delighted to discover the Model Railway Park in Nambour. You might remember we did the Gary Evans Walkway along Petrie Creek in Nambour and this was when we first saw the railway tracks running around the Model Railway Park in Florence Street, but to our disappointment, our visit was on the 'wrong' day.
These special miniature train rides are held every month on the fourth Sunday of the month - every month except in December - this is, no doubt, because the fourth Sunday in December is between Christmas and New Year and the Model Railway enthusiasts need some time out to ensure the mini train rides stay on track.
Some Bells and Whistles On The Model Railway Park's Historical Background
The Sunshine Coast Railway Modellers Society opened the first track on the 22 November 1980, making this track one of the oldest in the country. The original track in the West area of the Railway Park was extended across the creek and down onto the Petrie Creek flats to the east. On 5 September 1999, the Roy Stephens Loop was opened.
Round about 2006/2007 a big section of the older track was re-laid and with the assistance of various grants and Club funds, this track was also extended.
Very colourful forty foot shipping container that houses the miniature locos
A forty foot shipping container was installed in January 2008 to house the Club Loco and any additional rolling stock. In the first half of 2008 Sunshine Coast Modellers Society commissioned six extra passenger cars, thereby increasing the capabilities to twelve to cater for the rapidly growing popularity of the Miniature Train Rides.
The miniature train ride's track has developed quite substantially over the life of the Railway Modellers Society and now occupies two basic levels. The higher section of the track is in the top half of the plan, while the lower area, represented by the section below the Creek Bridge, is on the Petrie Creek flats, some three metres below the Station floor level. The Creek Bridge crosses about two and a half metres above a small tributary to the main creek. A line of large trees visually separates the two basic levels, giving train passengers a real sense of a train journey.
A pedestrian over-bridge allows visitors to look down on the tracks and wave to passengers, whilst enjoying the vision of the locos letting off a bit of steam, as they chug-chug along the long climb from the creek flats.
Large areas of open grass offer visitors the perfect picnicking venue…under the trees, with the trains toot-tooting past. Visitors have many vantage points for viewing and photographing these very cute little miniature trains.
Okay, now to be totally honest, our little man is not in the least bit interested in being sidetracked with track and historical background - for him and all the other visitors to the Model Railway Park, it is all about fast tracking the time so that one can ride the next miniature train in the shortest possible time period.
There's no time for whistle stop tours, miniature train passengers all have one-track minds!
When visitors arrive at the Model Railway Park, there is a line-up for tickets - $3 donation per ticket or a $10 donation for four tickets - same price whether you're an adult or a 'children'. Children under three years of age are free. To make sure everything is streamlined, a second queue forms for the rides - this is, of course, once the tickets have been purchased.
Fast track it down to the Model Railway Park - this is an exceptional way to spend a Sunday - outdoor family entertainment at its absolute best and our furry family members, on a leash, are also permitted. Adults and children alike can let off steam and revel in the spirit of chugging along on a miniature steam train.
A birthday child will get unlimited rides all day! Image: Sunshine Coast Railway Modellers Society FB
PS Some extra-special information: The Sunshine Coast Railways Modellers Society welcome birthday parties too! If you're celebrating your special day on one of the 'running' dates mentioned above, please notify the ticket ladies and the birthday child will receive an armband for unlimited rides for the whole day - sounds totally awesome to me!
All photos are courtesy of author unless otherwise indicated