Great Edmonton Train Show - September 2000

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Over the weekend of September 23, 2000 our informal NALUG (Northern Alberta Lego Users Group) group attended the Great Edmonton Train Show. Our display was of course mainly a train display, but we had room for a few structures and other stuff. The reception of our display was quite good, especially amoung the younger set. By visitor vote on the Saturday we won second place, and have been invited back for next year. We're currently talking about that, and about expansion of the layout.

On Friday night we arrived around 6:00 p.m., and had until 10:00 p.m. to set everything up. Many of the other displays, especially the store ones, were already set up. Ours had only been done once before, and there were some changes since then, so we took a bit longer. The show organizers were also a bit disorganized - we had to move our entire layout twice, including one 90 degree rotation. Good thing its light! Due to a miscommunication, Steve arrived late, and so had to work his monorail in around other things. That resulted in some "creative" supporting system, which I think added to the look of the layout. Of course, Kevin and Chris had built around 50 pylon extenders before Steve mentioned that he only needed 20! The room was quite cold on the Friday, due to it being a cool day, and the big doors being open a lot as vehicles went in and out. Our layout was beside the one for the EMRA (Edmonton Model Railroad Association), which Chris used to be a member of.

The show itself went well, with only one crash (while Chris was driving). We had to keep inquisitive fingers off of things, but that is only to be expected! The crowd was thick early in the day, but thinned out towards the end of the show. There were reporters (and at least one journalism student who I should have gotten a picture of) around, so we likely got some publicity out of the whole affair. We could have handed out far more handouts (especially the ones specific to our group) than we had.

Toys R Us was running a 20% off sale on Star Wars Lego sets, so a couple of the guys took time out to go to the nearby one to see what was there. It had two UCS X-Wings! Hurray - now I am UCS complete. I think there were other purchases and back-of-car deals going on there, too.

Towards the end of the day, the show organizers passed out invitations to a free barbeque after the show at Fort Edmonton Park. The park is a fairly large outdoors museum, with sections from several different eras in the city's history. The EMRA group has a building there which houses their main HO scale layout. There are also some trolley cars (the city used to have a good set), and a steam train which has a 10 minute run around the end of the park property. James, Kevin and Chris were able to make it out to the park, and had a fine time.

Since the park was ending its season, and it was getting into the evening, the train was doing pretty well its last runs of the season. For this event, all the rides were free, as was entrance to the park itself. By being at the right place and the right time, Chris got to ride in the cab of the engine for a dusk run. All three of us got a good inside look at the EMRA layout, which is *very* impressive. A working freight train, doing drop-offs and pick-ups according to car waybills, can take upto 4 hours to complete one run of the mainline!

Sunday was a shorter show day, similar to Saturday. Then came tear down. That took us only about an hour (with poor Michel trying to keep us all in check!) compared to about 5 hours for our haphazard setup. All in all a good show! Chris and Kevin ended the day with the food of the gods (pizza).

I took 78 pictures over the weekend, and only threw a few away. I've organized them into groups:

Big Red

Other members of the group took pictures and videos, too:

    Kevin's Pictures
    James' Pictures on Brickshelf
    Steve's Report

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