Hamilton Model Railroaders Club (HMRR) is bringing one of its major shows back to Te Awamutu this month as part of its revised annual show programme.
In 2016 Te Awamutu hosted a show after an absence of 20 years — now it is on a three-year circuit with Cambridge and Morrinsville.
On the weekend of April 27/28 the Te Awamutu Events Centre will be full of about 20 model railway layouts of various gauges and designs — as well a number of trade stalls.
The club's major show is held each October in Hamilton.
Club member Roger Herbert of Te Awamutu became interested in model railways as a youngster — and has been hooked ever since.
Models are gauged in an unusual way — a mixture of metric and imperial measurements.
The smallest models on show will be in the N gauge (2mm per foot) and the biggest in O gauge (9mm per foot).
Roger says some of the names will be well known.
Tri-ang is one of the oldest makers, and still well represented. Hornby is also an older maker and is possibly the best known.
Another popular maker is Marklin and the club is hoping a large layout from Palmerston North will be featuring at the show.
Some makers use popular gauge sizes — some have their own bespoke designs.
Roger says model railroading is very popular in England, so many of the local enthusiasts have English heritage.
As a result many of the layout designs are based on English countryside, often the landscape of the owner's home area.
NZR layouts are also popular, and one of the features returning this year is a design of the Hamilton line when it used to cross the Waikato River at Claudelands (now the road bridge), with a rail crossing on the city's main road, Victoria Street.
The rail has since been lowered and travels under the road.
And while many of the layouts will have a vintage theme, reflecting the glory days of rail, there will be modern designs as well depicting where rail has gone — especially in European countries.
Models have also moved with the times.
Digital models and layouts can be pre-programmed, run numerous locos at the same time and be controlled by apps from phones or tablets.
It is a different world for the older enthusiast who prefers to 'drive' the layouts themselves.
Show times are 10am-4pm each day, entry at the door is $6 for adults, $3 per child, plus there are family passes.
More information here.