- Dear fellow Valeasians,
The first heavy frost has settled permanently here and I'm
beginning to finally feel at home in my new surroundings. The
VECRR is set up now where I can finally do some model
railroading rather than maintenance for train shows. This is all
very new and strange.
Many aspects of my former roadwarrior lifestyle have changed
greatly in the past 3 months and I have been re-evaluating some
of my priorities as a result. So, now that the modelling season is
upon us, I have begun to reflect on what I would like to persue as
far as VEC projects are concerned.
Formerly, train shows were an extremely important part of my
hobby. They helped me cope with the stress of not feeling at
home where I lived (apartment dweller's syndrome). I had set
several related goals that included making inroads with the
major model railroading magazines. Now that the NMRA
Bulletin has actually published the long-promised Z column, I
am searching to set my sights on another target.
I've had a wonderful journey with the VECRR and now I'm
wondering, what to do to keep my interest keen. Frankly, there
aren't very many things left on my list...
The other day, my wife said to me that she has reached her limit
of train shows for several good reasons. I couldn't argue with
her on that point. The VECRR has taken part in over 60
exhibitions and events and my wife has accompanied me to the
vast majority of them. I recall that last year I planned to cut back
on outings with the layout in 2002. Following this month's
Montreal Sun Youth Charity Train Show (Nov 23-24), we will have
taken part in 10 shows this year! This is a far cry from reducing
the number of shows. Not only did we do 10 shows, we went to
Germany and Florida to boot!
Well, my wife is right. I can feel it too. The time has come to
concentrate on other things. So from 10 shows in 2002, how
about 3 in 2003? In fact I only have 2 confirmed shows at this
point...the Sanford, Maine Lion's Club show on April 12, 2003
and the 2003 NMRA National Train Show in Toronto, Ontario next
July 18-20. At this point, I plan to make the Toronto gathering,
the final outing for the VECRR at the National Train Show. Five
NTSs in a row is an excellent record in my book and it's sort of
like finishing at home.
I had hoped to return to Europe in 2003 but it looks pretty bleak at
Following the extraordinary trip to Sinsheim, Goeppingen and
Munich last March, I was enthusiastic about returning to Europe
with the VECRR. I tried to contact several shows: Modellbahn
Sued in Germany, York and London train shows in England,
Mondial de la maquette in France, US railfans in Switzerland and
Eurospoor in the Netherlands. Of the six shows, I have had no
news from Germany, France, London and Holland. The York
group refused my offer twice claiming that there was no
Fortunately the Swiss group has shown some interest for Fall
2004. Overall, I was disappointed by the non-responsiveness of
the show organisations. I can't really understand how one could
not be interested in having a champion layout be part of your
train show, expecially for free! It beats me!
OK, the frustration of it all has finally worn me out. I truly
expected to be able to talk to these people, especially the British,
very strange indeed. Time to move on as they say.
The only solid booking for Europe is the American Railroadfans
Convention in Andelswil, Switzerland in October 2004. Not bad
at all, when you think about it! But I still have slim hopes for
Eurospoor in October 2003, that is if the show manager ever
replies to my correspondence.
OK, 2 shows in 2003, then. What next? It's time to complete my
ToDo list and finish my model building projects. Since I am goal
driven, my next and perhaps last major goal is to complete the
Master Model Railroader qualifications by July 2004, my 50th
birthday. I hope to present several models for judging at the
Toronto convention next July and to add substantially to the depth
of detail on the VECRR for its last BIG show in North America.
On the road to completing the MMR, I will have to build several
scratch cars and a locomotive. In addition, I have begun to
develop a timetable and car forwarding plan in order to finally
operate the VECRR as a railroad. I promise to share these
experiences with you here. You can expect to see many more
postings of modelling and detailing anecdotes as well.
I hope that you will enjoy sharing my successes and failures
(remember the recent bicycle fiasco?). It's fun having you join