The following article appeared in the local newspaper shortly before the last Royal Show at which we participated in 1998.
Life is going to be “all change” for railway lovers at Claremont soon.
By LINDA CALLAGHAN
A popular rail route that attracts 10,000 visitors a year may be shut down in the spring. The WA Model Railway Club has been told it must move to make way for improvements at the Showgrounds. The decision means fans may have just one more chance to view the 22m layout that has taken more than 10 years to build.
Tony Gray, the club vice-president said: “Plans to put in the Channel tunnel may have to be scrapped.”
Club treasurer Len Hughes said the Royal Agricultural Society had promised them another site in the Showgrounds but the club would have to pay for a new building. Mr Hughes said: “We have no idea yet where it will be or how much we will have to raise. It will depend on what the site is like.”
He estimated the club’s 46 members might have to raise between $25,000 and $30,000 to pay for the new building. He said they had been told they should be ready to move out after this year’s Royal Show at the end of September.
The club wants to stay on the Showgrounds because it is central for members who travel from Armadale, Joondalup and Midland. The exhibition during show week attracted about 10,000 visitors and was the club’s main income, said Mr Hughes.
“If we end up with a building the same size as this, we may be able to break this layout into three pieces and move it,” said Mr Gray, a retired carpenter. “If not we will have to build a new one.” He said club members had mixed feeling about the possibility of losing the layout.
The club was founded in 1957 and has been based at the Showgrounds for 25 years. The layout is the largest permanent model railway exhibition in WA with almost 90m of track and 130 points. There are also 400 model people in various poses including a bungee jumper, nude bathers and a wedding party.
Bruce Wynn, chief executive for the RAS, said it was usual practice for the society to give organisations licences to put up buildings on the Showgrounds.
Building standards had been set 10 years ago. “There are a couple of sites that are being looked at for the club.” said Mr Wynn.