Despite the weather warning of a blizzard, I went to the Springfield train show on Saturday morning. Leaving Albany around 7:15AM, I got there around 9:15AM. There were no lines of cars to get in, and I got a great parking spot. I was able to buy my ticket on the spot without waiting either, which was a good thing too as it was very windy and cold outside.
The show was not like a typical Springfield show. Many vendors were gone, either due to the weather or Covid. It felt like about 1/3 were missing, but that isn't an official number. At least four that I was hoping to go to were gone. But, on Saturday the place was a dead zone for much of the day and I felt like I had the show to myself. It was a nice trade off.
There were lots of neat things to see. One was these pair of Ffestiniog Railway Welsh prototype models on the Kato display table. They run on N scale track and model narrow gauge prototypes. I was told that they were being made by Kato Japan and would not be for sale in the USA. One can only hope that they will release some Talyllyn Railway (my favorite Welsh narrow gauge line) stuff in the future.
On a slightly larger scale (1/16 scale, which runs on 3.5" gauge track), a friend had his Bassett-Lowke engine out for display. It was recently restored and looked beautiful. I can't remember how old he said it was, but it still ran well. He was only exhibiting it though today.
There were lots of great layouts on display, but one that struck my fancy was built by a U.S. serviceman stationed in Afghanistan. He created a pair of modules (Fremo, I believe) based on the Railways of Afghanistan. Bet you haven't seen that before!
I really got a kick out of the camels. Normally when you see them on a layout it is a circus scene.
The Lego train display was as busy and well done as usual, but three engines with working valve gear surprised me. The Lego train I had as a kid (set #7722) was nothing like this!
Under the unusual category was this remote controlled dinosaur! I thought at first there was someone in a costume, but I overheard him say he imported it from China (for $5000!) and he directed it with something held in his hand. I don't know how it worked. Behind it was another near-extinct engine. Monson #3. More on that engine here.
I really took a look at the T-trak modules to see how others utilized the space. While many were well done but featured "generic" scenery, there were some outstanding examples. Here are a few pictures of them. The first shows two modules designed to work "back to back" instead of the normal "side by side".
A couple featured really large ships.
This dry dock was another fun scene.
I really liked the scenery on this one too.
The following pictures are based on a Star Wars park. Yup, Star Wars. The models were built from Bandai kits, and are 1:144 (pretty close to N scale's 1:160). The builder was Todd Blose and they were his covid project. I spent quite a bit of time talking with him about them.
The shot below had Jabba's palace on top, and the Sarlacc cave visible through the side!
That AT-AT is about to walk on the tracks
The Death Star trench run scene was my favorite, but I am extremely partial to X-wings.
Viewers looking onto the trench run. An interesting mash-up of different Star Wars scenes.
Jabba's palace was located on top of the corner module. Or perhaps it is just a regular Tatooine scene.
All in all, there were four modules I think. Those trees were fantastic as well.
One train I saw that I wanted but was very much out of my price range was this O scale Lionel B&M mogul and four MTH woodside coaches.
But, I did purchase seven O gauge cars. My budget was between $20-45 per car, with the Mandarin Orange Express CP boxcar the most. All are detailed scale models, and will go towards my future layout. I discovered walking around with them that they take up a LOT more space (8x each) than their HO car equivalents. I was thankful I parked so close to the exit.
I picked up a bunch of books for about $20. They will provide a lot of reading for the cold weather.
Finally, a couple of odds and ends. I bought a "challenge coin" from the WW&F Railway in Maine. They are building a new locomotive, WW&F #11, from scratch and funds generated from these coins will go towards that. More info on them can be found here. I also bought a magnet from the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum featuring Monson #4. Finally, I snagged a new pair of pliers for bending metal wire.
I really enjoyed the show. It was more like a regular train show because it wasn't as crowded or loud. I hope they recoup their costs, but I for one didn't miss the extra hustle and bustle. I hated walking between the buildings in the middle of a blizzard, but that couldn't be helped. Next year will be even better, and the countdown has begun!
PS: For dinner after the show I drove to Chick-fil-A, my favorite fast food place. I hadn't been to one in years (literally). Despite having a location less than 2 miles from my house, it is in an airport and not open to the public. How cruel! So I drove to one near the train show in the snow storm only to find out it was closed. Grrr.