June 13th, 2024

Model Railway Club rolling open its doors this weekend


By Troy Bannerman - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on March 17, 2023.

Herald photo by Troy Bannerman Simon Apperloo, superintendent of the Southern Alberta Model Railway Club, looks over an N scale track, as the club gets set to host its Spring Open House this weekend at Gyro Park.

The Southern Alberta Model Railway Club on Saturday and Sunday will be hosting its Spring Open House at Gyro Park.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event at 1420-10A Avenue South. Admission is by donation.

Simon Apperloo, the club’s superintendent, stated, “we’ll have all three layouts running.

“We’ve had to do some realignment of grades. . . We’ll get about 500 people coming through.It’s actually really good. In the fall was our first one since COVID so essentially it was three years, so we had close to 600 people.We’re hoping that the weather stays nice and melts some more snow so it gets rid of that ice.”

The club has just under 30 members, said Apperloo, adding membership can vary in numbers from the high 20s to low 30s.

“New members are always welcome.”

Membership is $180 per year. And new members are expected to “bring themselves, their skills, and their enthusiasm, he added.

All the equipment club owned but sometimes for an open house, some members will bring their own equipment.

“I’ll probably bring a couple of things. Just for a little bit more variety. And we can do that more on the N scale because it’s modern.”

Two different eras are represented at the club.

“For the HO scale it’s 1955 to 1965… which allows for the older trains, still some steam. Whereas on the N scale 2005 to 2010 allows us to get away with some newer stuff. And that just has to do with the interest of the group and stuff and the different modelers,” Apperloo said.

“It works out well that way because most people when they want to bring something it won’t necessarily fit for a show or something because they might bring something brand new.”

Apperloo noted that the club has three different model scales on display.

“We have three layouts in the clubhouse. We have the HO scale layout, which is the middle scale. We have the N scale layout, which is smaller. And the G scale, which is larger, goes around the ceiling. The HO Scale layout is the original layout that was started when the club started in 1972.”

A building addition in the 1980s enabled the club to expand somewhat while another addition in 2016 let the club put in an entire peninsula part with a port.

“The G scale was added around the same time. That was something that was donated to us. Quite often you’ll see G scale outside. It’s usually weatherproof, so you can put it around outside. It’s sometimes also referred to as Garden scale. I’m not sure if G scale actually stands for Garden scale, but people will quite often refer to it as Garden Railroads,” he said.

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