Lauded as “the biggest Model Railway Exhibition in Provincial Victoria,” the annual Corio Model Railway Club’s 41st Exhibition showcased exhibits from around the world. Miniature trains abounded in delicately built landscapes – many Australian and with every detail correct.
With crowd pleasers such as the circus train, Japanese urban express trains and outstanding dioramas, the Club excelled at putting on a good show and delighted many adults, families and children on the Australia Day weekend.
This year’s exhibition operated layouts in HO/OO and N Gauges. This refers to the scale of the models compared to real life items, as well as the distance between the tracks at which the trains travel on. A HO scale is 1/87, which means that an 870mm high object would be only 10mm high.
Further details on this year’s model railways include:
HO - Scale 1/87, Gauge 16.5mm
OO - Scale 1/76, Gauge 16.5mm
N Gauge - Scale 1/150, Gauge 9mm
There were lots of bargains available to be bought at the traders stands, with engines going from AU$100+. I saw some AU$40 carriages, but if you’re a real enthusiast, you’d know that bringing AU$1,000 would be more appropriate to take advantage of the delightful trinkets on offer.
The huge amount of effort and patience that went into these displays was magnificent, and we enjoyed the show immensely. Following is a description of the main displays.
1. Gordon By Rod Roberts
Located at the top of The Great Dividing Range on the main line to Adelaide with a rising grade from both directions, Gordon was once a thriving and busy terminus station. In 1886, the line was extended to Ballan and a daily service was provided to Ballarat which became known as the Shangi Express.
The line between Bacchus Marsh and Ballan was opened in 1889, but it wasn’t until the line was upgraded three months later that it became the main line to Ballarat.
The layout depicts Gordon as it was in the late 1970s and the audience is instructed to “get down to eye level” to get the most out of the detail. My family did, and it was wonderful, so realistic you could almost believe you were there!
Apparently the real life Gordon station is undergoing restoration by members of the Australian Railway Historical Society.
2. The Circus Comes To Town By Mario Faria
Want to see the circus world in miniature? This display was completed in O scale and has a steam train going around the perimeter of a beautifully decorated and electrically lit circus.
The stunning centrepiece is a Big Top, complete with miniature crowds, lights, a ringmaster and parading animals.
Based on an American circus, there’s Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, carnival rides (including a ferris wheel), dodgem cars, a Wall of Death, a Grand Organ, a motorcycle stunt show, a merry-go-round, refreshment trucks and a balloon store.
In particular, it was really adorable to notice that builder Mario Faria adorned a trailer with the words “Mario Faria’s Circus” on the side.
3. Cockroach Valley By Kevin & Dot Bush, With Gary Taylor
Cockroach Valley is the latest version of the HO Australian layout developed over 40 years by Kevin & Dot Bush. It uses a code 83 rail and NCE DCC controls and is built on steel frames.
The trestle bridge was completely built from scratch, using a 6mm rod as the upright poles and various sized pine for the stringers and cross bracing, which was purchased especially for the right look and strength.
The decking has over 800 individual pieces of timber and is glued to the stringers.
Constructed over a period of four weeks, the trestle bridge uses the principle based on the construction of the two trestle bridges on the Castlemaine-Maldon railway, at Winters Flat and Muckleford.
4. Mittelstadt By Lutz Heerde
Based on a small fictional village in Central Europe, Mittelstadt has steam and diesel locomotives and rail buses, including various passenger coaches and good wagons of German Railways stock of era III & IV (1930 to 1990).
This single line – loop system is a bi-directional 16V AC 3 rail system, featuring Marklin track and accessories and rolling stock.
What really stood out about Mittelstadt were the bright colours used in the selection of buildings and the interesting amount of props used in the display.
From the miniature mushroom house to a church and houses lit up from the inside, Mittelstadt took a lot of work to create. It was also interesting to note the rocks built into the inclines and the different gravels used around the tracks.
5. Hawesdale By Peter Mitchell
The Hawesdale display was designed on a fictitious location on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales (England). The track plan is based on the location of Garsdale and the period modelled is between the nationalisation of British Railways and the end of regular steam engines.
This was a good display for the children because it was placed at a lower height, so they could see the miniature detail much more closely.
Containing a town, tunnels, a station with lots of miniature people, and detailed countryside scenery with cows, hedgerows and cottages in a English style, Hawesdale was running a few trains at once and was well placed in the centre of the main exhibition room for prime viewing.
The trains ran through the display, into one of the tunnels and then ran around behind the backdrop, so that they could be maintained during the show.
As you can see from the photos, Hawesdale is about 3m+ in length, and although it wasn't as long as some of the other displays, the colours used in it attracted many.
6. The Art Of The Diorama
This amazing set of dioramas are complete small scenes in O gauge and they are a great way to build and display models and/or structures. Dioramas can be stand alone, or be added together in a collection or to a railway system. In this set were Splitters Gorge, Diggers Bend, and an outback town connected to a rainforest.
7. Fish Creek By Tony Lampough
Located 170km from Melbourne, near Wilsons Promontory on the Yarram Line, is Fish Creek. This N gauge layout has been built to have the feel of a small country town. Fish Creek station was opened during the 1890s and operated until 1980 for passengers (past Leongatha) and then in 1992, the railway line to Barry Beach servicing the oil fields in Bass Strait was closed.
The line was then dismantled and turned into the Great Southern Rail Trail. Fish Creek contained a goods yard with three roads. The yard has been demolished and the remaining station platform is in good condition.
8. Healesville By Paul Sutton
Designed on the town of Healesville, the display is a point to point operation, depicting the branch line from the Lilydale side of Yarra Glen to Healesville. It is controlled by an advanced digital control system using an integrated laptop.
A very long display of more than five metres, Healesville shows rolling Victorian hillsides and green farming areas with lush grass and miniature windmills. The little bridges over creeks, tractors and signal lights were a good opening display near the entrance to the exhibition.
9. Commercial Stands & Other Displays
There were a number of commercial stands at the exhibition. Outback Models by Laurie Green showed Australian kits, while Grizzly Flats, also by Laurie Green, showed mining and logging line running small porters on tight curves, a good example of a detailed O scene in a small area, including hand built trees. O-zzie Modelling also had complete small scenes for sale and Stand #8 (unknown) had some exciting buildings displayed.
Other displays not covered in this hub include Railways of Japan, Little Oaklands, Bill's Backyard, Hairpindone, Jenke and an Airport West Hobbies Layout. Some photos are included below.
This exhibition is held annually, on the Australia Day weekend and admission is around AU$17 for a family. The venue this year was at:
Geelong West Town Hall
143 Pakington Street, Geelong West
(Corner of Albert & Pakington Streets)
Don’t miss the next Corio Model Railway Exhibition in 2015!
For more information on exhibition dates, or joining the CMR club, please visit: http://www.coriomrc.org/
© 2014 Suzanne Day
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on January 28, 2018:
Yes Suzanne, miniatures are amazing. I have a couple of old pictures I took of the town I created. But that’s all I have remaining from it. Your suggestion to recreate it gives me an idea, maybe I’ll write an article about it someday.
Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 26, 2018:
Thank you Glenn! Aren't miniatures amazing? Recently I got to see some great miniature ships at the Queensland Maritime Musuem, might have to go and get more photos of that because they were just stunning and a new angle for me! I love the sound of your town on the table...maybe you could recreate your town as an adult and have a little tourist attraction for a side hustle?
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on January 14, 2018:
I found this article very interesting. When I was a child I made an entire town with HO trains on a large table in my basement. It was the size of a ping pong table. I never forgot that, and that’s why your article caught my attention.
The pictures you took are wonderful. You sure did your research when writing this article. Your descriptions of the history, and how the various exhibitions were designed, add a lot of value to the whole experience.
Hackslap on March 02, 2014:
This is an awesome exhibition and a very well written hub outlining it in every conceivable detail .. voted up!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on March 02, 2014:
Congratulations on a very well-deserved HOTD!
This was an amazing collection of model railroad displays, and a most excellent presentation!
I love model trains, and have an N-gauge layout myself, though it has rather been put on the back burner due to lack of funds to complete. I hope to someday resurrect it, and finish my layout.
I truly admire those who are talented enough to replicate real-life scenery, lines and stations. My layout is pure fantasy. ;-)
Voted up ++
Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on March 02, 2014:
Thanks to everyone for your kind comments!
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 02, 2014:
Stopping back by to say congratulations on HOTD! Way to go Suzanne!
Veenoo from India on March 02, 2014:
Models are incredible. Thanks for posting.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 02, 2014:
How awesome, I love miniature trains and villages. I would adore going here. Maybe something. Great job presenting it and congrats on HOTD!
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on March 02, 2014:
Excellent hub: have shared
swilliams on March 02, 2014:
I agree with Susan!!! Wow! Amazing great pictures! What a fun adventure! Thanks!
Susan from India on February 22, 2014:
Wow... These models looks so beautiful. Thanks Suzanne for sharing this wonderful hub. Voted up and Awesome.
CraftytotheCore on February 20, 2014:
Wow this is incredible. I love dioramas. I used to make them from Barbies for my daughter. She was more interested in playing with them though than making them all look perfectly interesting. I'm surprised you only received a few comments here. Trains are a really hot topic.
Sarah Forester from Australia on February 11, 2014:
My uncle loves his model railways and trains, I'll be sure to send this his way. Some great pictures here.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 08, 2014:
O my, Suzanne, my baby grandson would have a ball at this. He is a huge fan of trains. Has tons of track and tons of trains (not collectibles yet) and he also has many of the houses and all to accompany his tracks. I have to admit....I enjoy going to see these exhibits as well.
thanks for sharing.
More Angels on the way ps
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 30, 2014:
This was so detailed, and the photos were spectacular, showing how much attention the hobbyists give to designing and building their sets. I love to look at model trains. Well done! Voted up and more.
Lillian Day on January 29, 2014:
We really enjoyed the afternoon and loved the miniature details in the train layouts.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 29, 2014:
Wow Suzanne, the detail you put into this hub is amazing. It is so comprehensive, just like some of the models of the model rail enthusiasts.
It looks like an incredible exhibition. Voted up.