Val Ease Central Railroad by Jeffrey MacHan|
The Amherst Railway Society BIG Train Show
Amherst Railway Society BIG Train Show newZ:
Dear fellow Valeasians,
VECRR experiences at the 2002, 2004, 2005 shows as exhibitor, 2007 and 2008 shows as visitor
Over the years, I have had the privilege of receiving invitations and running the VECRR in three (3) editions of the Amherst Raiway Society's BIG Train Show at the Big Eastern Exhibition Grounds in West Springfield, MA.
First things first...The Amherst organisation is run by the most welcoming and efficient group of volunteers that I have ever had the pleasure to work with in North America! From the first moment that I had contact with the Amherst Railway Society, Mr. Doug Moore, President, made sure that I had everything that I needed to have a wonderful experience at the show, both as an exhibitor and as a visitor.
Doug Moore, ARS President and Jeffrey MacHan at the 2002 edition of the BIG Train Show
My invitation to exhibit the VECRR at the 2002 edition of the Amherst BIG Train Show came about following my Best of Show at the 2001 NMRA National Train Show in St. Louis. It is quite an honour to receive an invitation from the BIG Show since there is a waiting list for every edition. Although the average annual attendance at the show is well over 25,000, the weather plays a big role in the turnout. The Amherst Railway Society holds the show at the West Springfield, MA Exhibition Ground on the third weekend of January. I have been lucky on 2 of the 3 trips to West Springfield as an exhibitor having to face normal New England winter weather. On the other occasion the weather was pretty fierce. That is why it is always a good idea to check the forecast before heading out onto the highway and to leave a full day ahead of schedule, just in case.
In 2005, following my last official presence at the BIG Show, I approached Doug Moore to ask if it would be possible to arrange an invitation for another Z-scale group to take my place. Mr. Moore was happy to extend an invitation to the Tri-State gang, an enthusiastic Z-Bend Track standard module group with members hailing from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. As far as I know, the Tri-State Gang have been a continuing presence at the BIG Train Show ever since their debut in 2006.
The Amherst show is also the best spot on the East Coast to rub shoulders with the major players in the model railroading industry, both manufacturers and model railroaders. I have been very fortunate to know and be inspired by some of the greats of the hobby, many of whom I met in West Springfield. This is the main reason that I made two more trips to the show in 2007 and 2008 to enjoy the atmosphere and to rekindle some great friendships in the hobby.
Eric Smith, president of Micro-Trains Line, has been a regular attendee at the BIG Train Show often introducing new products at the event. I have had a wonderful relationship with MTL and Eric in particular who offered support from the very first public exhibit of the VECRR at the Quebec Museum of Civilisation and continued to encourage my International AdventureZ.