All aboard for rail show

By John Lewis

Inside the old parcels office at Shepparton Railway Station you can take a train to Dookie — all day, every day.

The model rail layout is still under construction, and is one of several permanently set up at the clubhouse of the Goulburn Valley Rail Club, which this weekend holds its 11th annual Shepparton Model Railway Exhibition at the McIntosh Centre at the Shepparton Showgrounds.

This year the club also celebrates its 30th anniversary with a dinner at the Terminus Hotel in late November.

Twenty-year member and vice-president Mike Scutchings said the club had 34 members who travel from across the region to take part in Tuesday night meetings where trains are run, new layouts are built and tested, and information and stories are swapped.

Mr Scutchings said all the club's meticulously detailed layouts represent something of British, American and Australian railway history.

He creates a lot of the scenery and buildings from scratch for club layouts.

One country Aussie town even has an IGA supermarket — just in case a train traveller needs an emergency jar of Vegemite.

“You do get a sense of achievement. It takes you into the shed for a few hours and the club provides a real social community,” Mr Scutchings said.

He said his fascination with trains began as a child in London.

“We had a set-up at home, then we moved to Australia and we bought a set from friends in Seymour. It sat in our shed for a long time until I joined the club."

He said there were model electric trains available for every budget — ranging from an entry level $150 train, to rare antiques or scale replica models worth $5000.

This year's exhibition will feature more than 20 rail layouts based on Wodonga, Wangaratta, Stawell, Melbourne, the Surf Coast and Adelaide routes, as well as club members' routes.

There will also be stalls from specialist stores offering train sets and railway items for sale, as well as second-hand bargains for sale.

Books, magazines and DVDs for "big train" enthusiasts will also be available.

GV Rail Club member Ross Mussolino said past exhibitions had hosted more than 40 exhibitors and attracted more than 1000 visitors over three days.

This year's exhibition at the McIntosh Centre on Thompson St runs from 9am to 5.30pm on Saturday, October 19 and 10am to 4pm on Sunday, October 20. Entry costs $10 for adults, $4 for children and $20 for families.

Club members thanked Greater Shepparton City Council for its support in staging the exhibition.