The 2016 Brampton Model Railway Show

CNR 4204 at Judge Farm

I had a great time attending the 2016 Brampton (Ontario) Model Railway Show this past weekend, as part of The S Scale Workshop exhibit. As noted on the Workshop’s blog, we displayed a large U-shaped point-to-point layout, with short train-length turntables at each end.

CNR 4204 at Burnt River

This was our first appearance at the Brampton Model Railway Show and the organizers did a great job. Set-up was well-organized on Saturday morning, and it’s nice to be able to drive right into the building to unload – particularly this year, when a light rain fell for much of the weekend. The organizers also provided exhibitors with free coffee and donuts in the morning (because Canadians run on donuts) plus coupons worth $5 off at the barbecue (hotdogs, sausage on a bun, chips, pop, etc.) that they’d set up outside, which was a nice “thank you for coming” – and much appreciated!

CNR 4204 at Culverhouse

Burro at the Brewery

The S Scale Workshop’s Free-mo style modular layout ran well for the most part. We had a few alignment issues between modules on Saturday, but by the early afternoon we had basically solved those problems.

I contributed my two broad curve modules, which made their first appearance at in the Greater Toronto Area. Also a first, we split the curves and put another module in between them. That worked really well. It’s nice to know my curve modules give the group some additional flexibility.

In addition to the modules, I brought out a variety of motive power – including CNR 2-6-0 908, my Model 40 Burro Crane, my gas-electric, and CNR 2-10-2 4204. With no return loops, the 4204 was a monster on the layout: It was really out of place, given that we were limited to four-foot-long trains. The Mogul was a much better choice.

CNR 4204 at Burnt River

CNR 4204 at Burnt River

CNR 4204 at Burnt River

This show was the first time I’d exhibited modules with fellow Workshop members John Johnson and Jim Martin. The fourth member to contribute modules to last weekend’s layout was Andy Malette. He has been at almost every show, including the two shows I’ve done in the Montreal area. I know Jim and Andy quite well, but haven’t had many opportunities to “play trains” with John – and I’m really glad we had the chance.

CNR 908 at Burnt River

On Sunday, I displayed one of the die cast trucks that I’ve repainted into “Husband Transport” – a typical 1950s freight carrier in southern Ontario:

CNR 908 at Division Street

It was a treat to talk to someone from another exhibit who had a relative who was general manager at Husband Transport in Montreal. He was very pleased to discover that lettering is available. (My truck is actually lettered with HO scale decals produced by Black Cat Publishing.) And the truck gave a good giggle to a couple of women who thought it might have a reclining chair, big screen TV and beer fridge inside…

This has turned into the largest annual show in the area, and we’ll definitely be back (although we tend to not do every show every year, because we only do a few shows per year and want to spread around our appearances).

All-in-all, a grand weekend out! And it was great to meet a number of you at the show – thanks for stopping by!

10 thoughts on “The 2016 Brampton Model Railway Show

  1. Trevor, I thought I’d offer some observations from the “other side of the mirror”… and get your take on what it is like from your perspective.
    I’ve been following your blog now for a few years. In addition, we’d almost met in our capacity as former members of the CASO free-mo project. And I’ve been a charter member of TrainMasters TV so have seen all the excellent segments you have done for it.
    The net result is, seeing your modules, some of your rolling stock projects, and… you… in the flesh… at the Brampton show was a somewhat surrealistic experience. I realized I know more about your modeling activities than I do of those of any of my modeling friends. Even more than what I know of those of our mutual acquaintance, Pierre Oliver, despite my following Pierre’s own blog and the fact I’ve known Pierre now for, like, 25 years. Pierre simply doesn’t blog as often or in as much detail over as wide a range of activity as you do. Your blogging range means I also know quite a bit about your sheep dogs, house renovations, workspace construction, favourite watering holes in Toronto, etc.
    In return, you of course know virtually nothing about me, other than perhaps as a name that you realize you’ve heard somewhere, sometime… but might not be able to remember any real context for. And there must be people you interact with at a show who have followed your blog as long or longer than I have, etc., who you know literally absolutely nothing about.
    Yet there we are – your “fans”, as it were – looking at you with big (goofy?) grins on our faces and expecting you to somehow satisfy whatever expectations we have as a result of the knowledge we have of yourself and your model railroading activities and philosophies that you have “put out there”. In my case, I mentioned to you that it was neat to see your modules and rolling stock you had blogged about and, in the case of the modules, extensively detailed the construction of on TrainMasters TV. There was pretty much literally nothing you could then say that would have been “new” to me, because you did such a good job blogging and doing TrainMaster segments on most of what you had on display.
    So we watch you “through a one-way mirror” and, since you are on the mirror side not the window one, you can’t see us back.
    Which is why when we talked briefly one on one, I didn’t try to introduce myself. You mentioned that this was the first appearance of your modules at a show in the greater Toronto area. Which was a fact I of course already knew! When, later in the afternoon, Pierre arrived and we were talking by the layout and you came over, it would have been obvious to you Pierre and myself knew each other, so the introduction was made.
    So what’s that sort of scenario like viewed from your side of the one-way mirror? Is there a disconnect for you, with all the information flowing one way – from you, to us fans?

    • Hi Jim:
      Very good questions. First, I’ll admit it’s very flattering – a real stroke to the ego – when people come up and say, “I love your blog” or “You do a great job on TrainMasters TV”. It’s not why I do these things, but it’s wonderful to receive positive feedback from others – and it encourages me to continue to blog and host. So, thanks to everyone for that.
      As for the question of the one-way mirror, the reality of exhibiting at trains shows is that conversations are going to be brief because there’s just so much going on.
      It’s true that some people want to meet me because they read the blog. But more often, people want to talk about the layout, or S Scale, or a specific locomotive or train that we’re running. I had a lot of questions on Saturday about the gas-electric that I brought along – more comments about it than about my blog or TMTV activities. So there are a lot of people to talk to – people who want to also see other aspects of the show. There are also friends who just want to stop to say hello and perhaps catch up on what’s going on – in our hobbies and in our lives. And there is a train to run, to keep the public entertained. I often say “walk with me while we talk” because I have to keep close enough to the train I’m running.
      All of this means I tend to be a bit more scatterbrained when behind a layout than I am in other situations. The conversations tend to be short – and as a consequence, I don’t get to hear as much as I’d like about what other people are doing in the hobby. Sometimes, I get to ask “What do you model?” but it’s hard to get beyond the “elevator pitch” level of response: there just doesn’t seem to be time.
      So, yes – it’s a bit of a disconnect. But I think most people who exhibit at shows experience that – if only because the conversations tend to focus on what’s being exhibited, which means it’s about what the exhibitor has done, not about what the attendee has done.
      One treat about doing shows is that I meet people who I’ve come to know through my blogging, through forums, or through private email conversations about the hobby. Some of these people I know quite well. To use your example, some of them publish their own blogs, which I read regularly. In these cases, it’s delightful to put a face to a name and, sometimes, extend a personal invitation to see the layout or have a meal.
      I’ve met some people at train shows who, with time, have become some of my closest friends. And in a few cases, they have introduced themselves only because they “knew me” through my blog.
      I hope that sheds some light on what it’s like on my side of the glass…
      Cheers!

      • Interesting, Trevor.
        When you’re talking to somebody at a show, can you tell the difference between a “fan” versus somebody at the show who doesn’t have the blog/TrainMaster background on you?

        • Hi Jim:
          The short answer is “yes”, because those conversations typically start with “I read your blog” or “I watch TrainMasters”…

  2. It was great to finally get to see the S-scale workshop in person as well as see some of your fantastic models in operation. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now after first seeing your models in person at the Toronto RPM earlier this year. But I had seen your series on Trainmasters TV about making your freemo modules before then as well as occasionally visit your blog.

    It was good to see the display as well as briefly talk to you as I was with the Credit Valley freemo group at the Brampton show.

    • The locomotive took up half the length on the train turntable. And of course where a 2-6-0 looks perfectly appropriate with a two-car train, the 2-10-2 looks silly. I should’ve run it as a caboose hop, or even as a light engine move – but apparently someone really needed that bulldozer.
      This is why the group really needs a set of return loops stored in southern Ontario. I’ve written about this on the S Scale Workshop blog, in a post called “Ontario Loops“. Enjoy if you visit!

      • I did visit, and I did enjoy it.

        I have no problem with the short train: I wasn’t being sarcastic (although it might be hard to tell as I do like irony…)

  3. Hi,

    I was at the show Sunday and saw the layout , unfortunately the way i worked around the room it was at the end of my visit and my wife and daughter were way past ready to leave so i didn’t try to start any conversations. Loved what you and your group are doing even if everything is 2.5 times bigger than it should be šŸ™‚ next time I’ll come alone and spend a little more time.

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