By Cameron McArthur
Trains are more than just transportation, to some they are fascinating marvels of engineering which represent the dedication of the world’s most brilliant and creative minds. On Sunday the 14th of April, I had the privilege of visiting the Hornsby Model Engineers open day, and it was quite an interesting experience, due in part to the treasurer Allie who hosted our visit, and her husband Evan who drove the train. We first saw a display featuring three working steam engine models made by Barry Webster, which were very detailed and rich with history.
We then saw some of the larger train models driving around on the tracks, and were fascinated by their detail. Soon we rode on one ourselves, and I personally found it relaxing. There was no doubt why kids loved coming to this event.
Halfway through our ride we were stopped by a train in front that had unexpectedly failed. However we were soon past that, and at our ride’s conclusion we spent a small amount of time controlling a much smaller Garden Class locomotive. With 150 members and anywhere between 250-400 visitors on a public day, you’d think it wouldn’t be hard to find someone you know there. However, upon returning home I realised that the whole time I hadn’t seen a single person I recognised, despite living very close.
This shows both that the community of Galston is surprisingly large, and that there are lots of people willing to travel any distance to pursue a passion. Hornsby Model Engineers run the open days like this on the first Sunday of each month. This lets their members put their models in action, and gets more people into the hobby, including many excited children.
Separate from this event, they also run the Galston 500, where the trains must complete 500 laps around the kilometre-long track to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. This year it is being held on the 21st of July, and considering the fun I had at the open day, I may just come along myself.