One of the best ways to bolster your skills in the hobby and make a lot of new friends at the same time is to become a member of a model railway society. Many of these also have shared clubroom or exhibition layouts upon which members can run their trains, which is especially useful for modellers who have rolling stock but lack or have too small a layout of their own.
Should you join one? It is not essential to be in a club to be a better modeller, plus some people prefer to do their own thing and excel at it. That though it can be of much benefit- not only will you enjoy the social aspect of it but also with any luck learn a great deal in the process. As aforementioned, most clubs have their own layouts upon which members can use to run their own rollingstock- a big plus for those who have no layouts.
There are around a dozen clubs in SA most of them within the Adelaide greater area. We are lucky to have clubs who offer great variation in their field of expertise, whether this be concentrating on promoting the new DCC format or restoring and running classic tinplate trains, meaning there is a very good chance there is a club to fit your chosen modelling fields.
Here we present an examination of each and what they specialise in.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY MODELLERS ASSOCIATION (SARMA)
The largest of the clubs in SA (though not quite the oldest) with well over 100 members, formed in 1957. SARMA is a club with a broad brief, though at exhibitions they run trains of the South Australian prototype they welcome modellers of all interests. Members mostly model in OO, HO or N scale though there are those who also model O, G and Narrow Gauge scales.
The club owns two exhibition layouts. First the large HO scale ‘Strathburn’ which is entirely digital. The smaller N scale ‘Mt Joseph’ layout employs the modular T-TRAK system and is designed to be easily expanded/made smaller (this layout will also be made at least half DCC in the near future). Added to these is the N scale ‘Kemptown’ which is designed to be driven by the public at events, and the ‘Golden Grains’ HO layout which is permanently mounted at the Adelaide Showgrounds. A permanent clubroom layout is to be constructed, pending the completion of clubroom expansions in the near future.
SARMA is located on the corner of Balmoral and Lyons Rd, Dernancourt. They meet every Wednesday night for modelling and clubroom work (except the 2nd Wednesday of each month which is a General Meeting night where club business is discussed).
For further information visit the SARMA WEBSITE or email the secretary at email@example.com
NOARLUNGA MODEL RAILROADERS
The largest model club to the South of Adelaide, they have have been going since the late1980s when they were known as the Reynella Model Railroaders. The club is primarily a HO and OO scale one with a large clubroom layout and exhibition layout ‘Paradigm’ though a new one, ‘Lakeside’ is under construction. Unusually the club’s layouts are wired to use both DC and DCC meaning members can run either type of train.
Their clubrooms are situated suitably on the former site of the Reynella Railway Station, next to the Reynella Interchange. The club publishes a magazine ‘Right Track’, holds regular swapmeets and its own Biennial model railway exhibition.
They are open on Saturdays from 2:00 pm, Tuesdays from 7:30 pm and Thursdays from 2:00 pm.
or their website.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN N GAUGE SOCIETY (SANGS)
Started in 1983, SANGS is another large club. They specialise in modelling and promoting N scale and all of its different standards. SANGS is a regular exhibitor and has four exhibition layouts: Generica, Portland, Bannon Fields & Greater Portland (the latter being the largest N scale layout currently on the SA exhibition circuit).
The club also regularly displays modules of the ‘T-TRAK’ standard and its members are among the most active N scalers in Australia.
After having clubrooms for years at Semaphore the club now has a home at 118 Fletcher Rd, Peterhead, Cnr Tim Hunt Way.
They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or see their website.
There we have the end of Part One of the club listing. We have started with the larger clubs so as to ensure the smaller groups are given their space.