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Publicity looks to suggest a rerun of Ally Pally shows in London  but I guess room for enlargement. 

NEC costs are eyewatering so it will be very interesting to see how the new "Warnley" show develops  hope the Warners team of paid staff can pull of a show to match the volunteer run one. 

I wish them well in this show.


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14 hours ago, Robert Shrives said:


Publicity looks to suggest a rerun of Ally Pally shows in London  but I guess room for enlargement. 

NEC costs are eyewatering so it will be very interesting to see how the new "Warnley" show develops  hope the Warners team of paid staff can pull of a show to match the volunteer run one. 

I wish them well in this show.


Well said sir.


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My first thought was Warners. The Allypally show is run by The Model Railway Club (capital letters because it is the original/first one), but all the funding and legal side of things comes from the publishing company - including professional stewarding, the latter on the anal side of pedantic at times.

 I would imagine the costs of hiring the NEC will be similar to that of Allypally = eyewatering. I asked Nick Freezer (son of Cyril and one of the Club organisers) about this once and his comment was "Don't know and daren't ask!"

 Back in the day, the Chatham Show needed to take in £20 000, just to break even. About half of that came from trader's fees and the rest from ticket sales. Our fees for traders were around a quarter of what they were charged at Allypally. Therefore easy to see why the Warley Club wanted out in the end.

 I wonder if Warners are doing the new show on their own, or getting help from volunteers? They certainly have plenty of experience of running big shows and it may well be that this is the future of such events, so long may they prosper.


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Way Back in 1982 I organised the Annual Exhibition in St Cuthberts Church Hall , Blyth for the Blyth & District Model Railway Society.We had a gate of about 331 over the 2 days, about 10 layouts and 5 Trade stands. Total income was £201  and expenditure £52, giving us a profit of about 300%. It was a bit nerve wracking at times, ie the pies and mushy peas for the Exhibitors  were late on the first day. Those were the days! 😉

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1 hour ago, Noel said:

Don’t love big shows, miles of tiring walking and bumping into crowds in noise filled halls. Not what I call enjoyable. 

The hobby tends to be organised around 2-3 day Conventions rather than exhibitions in the States and this part of the World.  Conventions tend to rotate between cities/towns on an annual-bi annual basis usually hosted by the local club/clubs held in a Community Hall or School featuring an exhibition with layouts, traders with the addition of Layout Tours and Workshops/Lectures and a Competition

The Layout Tours where delegates visit home layouts permanent and portable tend to be a major attraction, the Convention Centre effectively clears out when the delegates are "Touring" layouts. The Workshops/Lectures sometimes involve guest speakers from the Model Press/Media, Iain Rice was a guest speaker (on almost anything) at the New Zealand 2010 National Convention, Lance Mindheim Custom Model Railroader from the USA was a guest speaker at the 2014 Convention.

American and Garden railway groups host conventions separate from the 'National" convention

My Garden Railway and Irish narrow gauge layout appeared in Layout Tours held during Garden Railway and National Conventions held in my current home town Hamilton. 

The main advantage of conventions over major exhibitions is the more relaxed pace, smaller crowds and less walking around, the down side is attending a convention is a lot more expensive than attending an exhibition 2-3 day entry fee plus accommodation. Some are held in boarding schools or 3rd level colleges out of term with full catering and accommodation available and an awards ceremony/dinner and drinks.



All Aboard 2024

April 26 -28, 2024

Corban Estate Arts Centre, West Auckland

Newsletter 4


Brendon Lean built this kit-based model of a KiwiRail DH class loco, adding details and his own modifications including shunter’s refuges.


Corban Estate Arts Centre, 2 Mount Lebanon Lane, Henderson, Auckland.



Registration for the convention is now open.

  • Full registration fee is $100 if paid by March 31, 2024.

  • The fee is $120 for April 1, 2024 onwards.

Click here to Register

Layout Tours

The Southern Pacific joint line subdivision


The Southern Pacific joint line subdivision, originally a segment of the Pacific Electric Railway's mainline in Southern California, came under the ownership of the Southern Pacific in 1965. This subdivision features a double-deck HO scale layout, incorporating a single-track mainline complemented by two return loops. The layout operates on DCC (Digitrax) technology and has been operational for three years.

The Grande Southern Railroad


Embark on a journey through the Rockies aboard The Grande Southern Railroad. This 5m x 6m N scale layout, powered by DCC, captures the essence of the Rocky Mountain landscapes traversed by the D&RGW and SP, featuring quaint small towns and picturesque snow-capped hills. The layout boasts a sprawling main line complemented by two short lines, operated by the BN/SF and UP, offering a diverse and scenic railroading experience.

The Western Springs Railway - MOTAT Prototype tour


Explore the workshops that shelter three functioning large steam locomotives: F-180 “Meg Merrillies,” L507, and Y542, amidst an extensive array of trains and railway vehicles. The tour also features a variety of carriages and intriguing items. Enjoy jigger rides during your visit.

Note: This tour is exclusively available on the Saturday of the Convention.

Great Northern Minot Subdivision (Cira 1956) - Steve


The layout is a multiple deck, around the walls, shelf style layout with a helix to connect the levels. Built for Car Card operations. Point to Point design allows you to follow your train with staging at each end. Return loops for re-staging trains and continuous running. Plus branch line off the main with its own helix to lowest level.


Track work is 95% complete. Code 70 and 55 Microengineering Scale Rail and Yard Ladder system. 148m of Mainline from staging to staging. (485ft or 8 HO scale miles.) Mid deck 1230mm high Next Deck 1580mm. Small amount of Ballast & scenery completed. 

NZR (9mil) – Trevor

Trevor’s 9 mil layout is one of a small number of non-modular 9 mil layouts in New Zealand. The layout takes up most of a purpose-built 16m x 7m shed and models iconic New Zealand scenes. About two years ago, Trevor, with help from other well known NZR modellers, added a detailed model of the Opua Wharf as it was. The addition of the wharf means the maximum number of visitors to the layout at a time is 12.

Garden Railway – Michael

Michael's layout has been featured on TV and is one of New Zealand's best known garden layouts. The layout permits battery-powered and live steam locomotives. Michael has added a lot of scenery since the layout was last on a tour (in 2018). Different types of locomotive will be running during the layout tours. 

Märklin Layout - Barry

Barry's layout is a large HO Märklin layout that models European scenes.  It has been nine years since the layout was on a layout tour and it has been greatly enhanced since then. The enhancements include automated train control and the use of the Faller Car System to control the movement of vehicles on the layout's roads. 

Other layouts on the Tours (more information to come)

  • USA - Martin T

  • Waitakere & Western Railway HO - Western Districts Model Railway Club Inc.

  • Waitakere & Western Railway N Scale - Western Districts Model Railway Club Inc.

  • Freelance American Layout HO - Auckland Central Model Railway Club inc.

  • Sheffield OO Layout - Auckland Central Model Railway Club inc.

  • Small N-Scale Layout - Auckland Central Model Railway Club inc.

  • Other layouts to be announced

There will also be the North Shore Model Railway Clubs portable NZR layout on site at the convention. As well as other displays, trade stands and some manufacturers.

Please be aware that all layout tours are subject to modification. Circumstances beyond our control may necessitate changes to the schedule or the content of the tours.



Our agenda includes a series of 10 clinics, each lasting 45 minutes including questions


Our clinics cover a broad spectrum of topics within the model railway hobby, and we are particularly excited to introduce subjects that have not been featured at previous NZAMRC conventions. In addition, we aim to spotlight the modern innovations within the hobby, catering to a wide range of interests and expertise levels.


Highlighted below are a few of the clinics we are looking forward to:

  • Arduino: DCC++ EX with Low Cost DCC Boosters by Gary Snow: Dive into the world of digital command control with an economical approach, exploring how Arduino can revolutionize your model railway setup.

  • Preparing and Assembling 3D Prints by Lewis Holden: Gain invaluable insights into the preparation and assembly of 3D printed components, a cutting-edge aspect of model railway building.

  • Railway Work Equipment in Operations by Joshua Hill: Discover the intricacies of railway work equipment and its operational significance, enhancing the realism and functionality of your layouts.

  • Loksound Decoder Clinic: Peter Ross will conduct a clinic on Loksound decoders, providing valuable knowledge on sound decoders that enhance the realism and functionality of model railways.

  • Operating Small Layouts or Making Car Cards and Waybills by Robert Douglas: Whether you're interested in the operational logistics of small layouts or the detailed process of creating car cards and waybills, this clinic offers practical advice and techniques.


Further clinics to be announced.


Special Interest Groups and AGMs


There will be time available for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and AGMs. Please contact the organising committee or make notes on your registration form and we will get in touch.


NZAMRC Model Competition


Who in their heart of hearts does not want to make the best models they can – the best locomotive, carriage, wagon, scene or whatever? But we’re human and sometimes wanting is not enough, we need a focus, a deadline, and something bigger than ourselves to make the extra effort seem worth it. Entering the model competitions can provide that incentive – even more so with all the effort that has gone into preparations this time.

Guidelines for Entrants
Online entry form

The next best thing to being a mind reader – a quality that’s very rare even among judges – is information gathered from the entry form. Like most online forms, you just scroll down, mostly ticking boxes, and it doesn’t actually take long. No apologies, but there’s something else too. Please try to include up to a couple of pages of supplementary information like prototype photos, plans or notes. You can upload these in any common format like jpg, pdf, tif, png, etc, or just bring paper copies along with your entry.


The origins of the competitions were scratch builds, and there’s still a place for those. This bungalow built by Gordon Barr is a good example.

Like to be a judge?

This is also our first call for people to be judges. While not an easy task this is something of a privilege and a chance to really get close to a whole spectrum of the country’s best models – and it should be possible to do most if not all of it without missing other programmed activities.

Judge’s Guidelines

Peter Ross (petrosnz15@gmail.com), Chair NZAMRC Competition Committee


Flatcar Load Challenge



The Flatcar Load Challenge (FLC) is a modelling competition run by the local organising committee. The FLC is independent of the NZAMRC model competition and will be run under a different set of rules (the rules are given at the end of section of the newsletter). The Australasian Region of the National Model Railroaders Association is sponsoring the trophies for first, second and third place. The judging is by popular vote.

The FLC requires the modeler to make a load for a flatcar. We expect most modelers will take one of their flatcars and make the load. A modeler could make the flatcar as well as the load but there are no points for the flatcar - the load only will be judged.

There are no restrictions on the load except that it must be made from at least two parts. There is an almost limitless choice for loads. Possible loads include a small steam locomotive, a large diesel engine or turbine, large pipes, a small submarine or a bathyscaphe, wheel sets for freight cars, large blocks of marble, a boat, a large run or tanks, a small spacecraft, large tanks, large spools of cable, circuit equipment, covered vintage cars, lumber, and the hero in a movie chasing a villain.

  1. Each entry for the challenge consists of a flatcar with a load. The flatcar must be operational but will not be judged. The load only will be judged.

  2. The judging will be by popular vote.

  3. An entry can be in any scale from T to 7/8”.

  4. A modeler can submit more than one entry.

  5. A modeler can submit an entry on behalf of another modeler.

  6. No documentation is to be supplied with the model.

  7. The load on a flatcar must be made from more than one part. These parts need not be scratch built.


Partner program

The Partners' Program is being coordinated by Elizabeth Mead. Elizabeth has created the possible list of activities given below. The list is intended to cater for a wide range of interests. Elizabeth has first-hand experience of most of these activities and will be available to answer questions about them. Partners will choose on the day which activity or activities they wish to participate in. The choice could well depend on the weather. Partners can split into groups and each group goes on different activities. Some activities will incur a cost.

Ferry to Devonport

From the city take a ferry to Auckland’s North Shore and the suburb of Devonport.

From Devonport, walk past the Navy Museum and up North Head, or Maungauika, one of Auckland’s volcanoes


Walking Tour

A walking tour is a way to discover Auckland, pay what you feel the tour is worth at the finish.


Film effects workshop

Weta Workshop is a film effects workshop, see how film effects are designed, built and brought to life.


Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

The Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari offers tours of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park


Maritime Museum

The New Zealand Maritime Museum is a place where Aotearoa’s stories of people and the sea are preserved.


Sky Tower

View the Auckland skyline from the Sky Tower



Auckland War Memorial Museum tells the story of Aotearoa.


Auckland Art Gallery

Explore Auckland Art Gallery viewing New Zealand historic, modern and contemporary art



Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo is home to at least 130 different species of animals


Waiheke Island

Take a 40 min ferry ride to explore Waiheke Island and vineyards



The accommodation in Auckland varies considerably in quality and the local organising committee (LOC) will leave it to individual attendees to decide on their

accommodation. Although there is some accommodation near the venue in Henderson, there is a greater choice to the east of Henderson. There are more accommodation choices within central Auckland and that is only 20km travel.

Check out Trivago for accommodation options



Mike Hill (Convener)

Email: mike@hill.net.nz

Phone: 021758222


James Kelso (Treasurer)

Email: jameskelso250@gmail.com

Phone: 0211163259


URL: https://www.nzamrc.org.nz/conventions/

Click here to Register

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8 hours ago, Mike 84C said:

All I can say is wow! pity NZ is so far away!

Specialist modelling groups in the UK including Scale Four, EM Gauge Societies and NMRA (British Region) (American outline modellers) then to hold convention like "meetings" at both a National and Regional level in the UK.

About 30 years ago I attended an regional Expo EM held in a Holiday Inn style hotel in Scotland which was set up in a similar style to a convention but without Layout Tours. The group had hired a Convention Room carpeted floor, tea and refreshments available, no barriers around layouts, may have held workshops and lectures.

The American and Garden Railway conventions held in NZ tend to be more small scale in nature than the National Convention often organised by one or two people. 

The 2011 Hamilton Garden railway convention was organised by a local group of 6 modellers (including myself) held in a Village Hall, with catering and visiting partners events (local tourist attractions and shopping) organised by members partners, while the boys played and talked about trains, test track, lectures and Convention Dinner held in village hall and tours of 5 layouts held over two afternoons.  Something like 200 visiting delegates from all over the country, with no clubroom or club layout to maintain held as a social rather than a fund raiser covered its costs. 

One American modeller/trader in Auckland organises impromptu mini-conventions at short notices in the Region meeting up (sometimes staying) at his home arranging visits to Clubrooms, Railways Museums and Layout Tours (American, British and Kiwi) across the region, for the cost of a donation to cover fuel and catering.

Something in the Belfast region built around the Modellers Day at the UFTM, visits to Whitehead, model railway club rooms and layout tours in the region would be a good inspiration for a convention. 

Don't know about Cork and the Regions, but a Dublin Convention could include visits to the MRSI and SDMRC rooms, Malahide, The National Transport Museum (Motor and PSV) at Howth Castle, layout tours and possibly a behind the scenes visit to Inchacore Works, no shortage of attractions for visiting partners in either city.



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