I went with my twelve-year-old son to the Vermont Rails Model Railway Show yesterday. The half-hour drive was worth it, if only to spend some time watching trains run around the modular club tracks.
Disappointingly, there was only one small table of N-scale wares, and they were very outdated, worn-out bits of rolling stock. Most vendors were offering Lionel and HO-scale engines and stock, and the only scenic vendors were offering pre-fab HO structures and custom rock molds.
Last time I went to the Vermont Rails show was five or six years ago, and there was a significant amount of N-scale stock and scenic vendors. There was a local laser-cut model company, Creative Laser Design, a whole bunch of Kato track and components, and bounteous tables of N-scale engines and rolling stock in various liveries. This time around, there was none of that.
Also, there was only one non-club modeler representing his project “just for fun.” At the last show I attended, there were at least four or five non-club, non-vendors who had lugged their small layouts to the show just to operate them for the enjoyment of the crowd, including at least one shelf-sized switching layout. To help offset this “club- and vendors-only” trend, I plan on bringing my humble layout to the show next year.
I didn’t take many photos, mostly because I’m not sure how modellers feel about having their layouts photographed and posted online without giving them credit (and it was almost impossible to find the owners of each section of twenty- and thirty-piece modular layouts). Here’s one photo, just to prove we were there (my son is in the foreground):
Despite the lack of high-quality N-scale-specific vendors, we still had a good time admiring the work of other modellers, and we spent a full two hours strolling around, pointing out details, and talking about the operations.