The Val Ease Central Railroad ©

Taking Z Scale to the Public Around the World
(Text and photos © Copyright Jeffrey MacHan)

Travels of the VEC

Travels of the Val Ease Central
Events + Total passengers carried on the VECRR

The VEC is one of the most widely travelled, full-featured model railroads in North America, if not the world. The VEC has criss-crossed Canada and the United States, participating in many and varied exhibitions and meets.


Date Place Name Attendance Comments
1993-03-15  Trois-Rivières, QC  Modélistes ferroviaires de la Mauricie (MFM)(#1)  250 T=250  First public showing of the Val Ease Central (1 suitcase). Warmly welcomed by Jean-Paul Beaulieu who was layout coordinator for the event. 1st time wife saw the VEC, loved it! 
1993-09-23  Trois-Rivières, QC  Modélistes ferroviaires de la Mauricie (MFM)(#2)  1500 T=1750  VEC returned to Fall show of the MFM for the full 2-day weekend. 
1993-10-02  Sainte-Foy, QC  Société des modélistes ferroviaires de Québec (SMFQ)  500 T=2250  Local club open house, VEC did not attract much attention from HOers and Nscalers.  
1993-11-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#1)  8500 T=10750  Although tucked away on 3rd floor, after a few hours word had gotten around. VEC featured on Radio Canada National TV News broadcast, Jeffrey MacHan interviewed in French 
1994-02-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#2)  5500 T=16250  Spring charity show over 2 day weekend. I was moved to the main floor following the success of my first outing here with the layout. 
1994-11-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#3)  9500 T=25750  The crowds seemed bigger than ever at the Fall edition of this 2-day charity show. 
1994-12-15  Troy, NY  Greenberg Train Show  10000 T=35750  In complete surprise VEC (now two joined modules: VEW+VEE) won 1st Prize in competition with Clinchfield RR and Model Railroader Magazine HO project layout built by Dave Frary ($50 check!) 
1995-02-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#4)  5000 T=40750  Spring charity show over 2 day weekend, repeat visitors came to see VEC 
1995-04-22  Joliette, QC  Société de modélistes ferroviaires de Lanaudière (SMFL)  750 T=41500  VEC invited to display at club open house and show. Had good time in church basement. 
1995-05-20  Québec, QC  Ministère de l'Industrie et du Commerce  100 T=41600  My colleagues at work wanted to see what I was up to! 
1995-06-21  Charlesbourg, QC  NER Spring convention  25 T=41625  VECRR in one suitcase on display as part of home layout tour, earned AP volunteer credits 
1995-06-21  Sainte-Foy, QC  North Eastern Region (NMRA) regional convention  250 T=41875  VEC won Best Diorama & New Modeler Awards. Small turnout to show & 2 clinics due to conflict with rail tours! Although present at meet, Jeff Wilson, Associate Editor of Model Railroader Magazine, did not accept invitation to see VEC. 
1995-09-23  Trois-Rivières, QC  Modélistes ferroviaires de la Mauricie (MFM)(#3)  1250 T=43125  Return engagement at MFM Club show on weekend 
1995-10-20  Montréal, QC  Montréal Railroad Modelers Association (MRMA)  2000 T=45125  Expenses paid to display at Club open house and show held under CN overpass to VIA station. 
1995-11-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#5)  8000 T=53125  Fall charity show on 2 day weekend (two suitcase VECRR) 
1996-02-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#6)  5000 T=58125  Attendance dropping at Spring show! Met some regular visitors. VECRR featured in Sun Youth commemorative video. Three trains in continuous operation. 
1996-04-05  North Conway, NH  North Conway Model Railway Club (NCMRC)  50 T=58175  VEC invited to club as special guest presenter, 2nd excursion to US 
1996-05-18  North Conway, NH  North Conway Model Railway Club (NCMRC)  1000 T=59175  VEC feature attraction at club sponsored train show 
1996-09-28  Trois-Rivières, QC  Modélistes ferroviaires de la Mauricie (MFM)(#4)  1250 T=60425  Fun show, we were welcomed like members of the family. 
1996-10-19  Montréal, QC  Montréal Railroad Modelers Association (MRMA)  2200 T=62625  Had to leave early so missed a few passengers. 
1996-11-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#7)  8000 T=70625  The 2 suitcase VECRR continued to please the crowds. Lots of return visitors who spotted the additional scenery details. 
1997-02-18  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#8)  4500 T=75125  Last appearance at Sun Youth show before move to West Coast. Saw many familiar faces and touching moments. The VEC control boxes now equiped with MRC7000 sound generators. 
1997-04-01  Québec, QC  Musée de la Civilization du Québec, "Zoom sur les miniatures"  380000 T=455125  VEC invited as Star Attraction at 12-month museum exhibition on world miniatures; video, souvenir guide. The VEC ran trains under plexiglass dome 6 days a week for 12 months. 
1997-09-11  Victoria, BC  PNR-7 NMRA  2000 T=457125  Beginnings of CVE presented to appreciative crowds. First visit to Victoria show. 
1997-10-07  Portland, OR  Great American Train Show (GATS #01)  15000 T=472125  Initial design of Centre Val Ease presented to public at first GATS. 
1997-11-08  Burnaby, BC  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 7 Show  3000 T=475125  Centre Val Ease introduced to Vancouverites. 
1997-11-15  Puyallup, WA  Great American Train Show (GATS #02)  15000 T=490125  First meeting with the public in the Pacific Northwest USA. 
1998-02-21  Vancouver, BC  Great American Train Show (GATS #03)  6500 T=496625  First and only GATS to be held in Canada. Show took place in beautiful Canada Place Convention Centre. The initial stages of Centre Val Ease were on display. Gave a workshop on making Z trees. $90 USD ($50 appearance fee + 4 workshops). 
1998-09-13  Victoria, BC  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 7 Island Show  2000 T=498625  The VEC arrived unscathed by CanPar from the Museum of Civilisation. Second show in Victoria but first with the full VEC. It was a beautiful ferry ride to the island. 
1998-10-8  Portland, OR  Great American Train Show (GATS #04)  15000 T=513625  Met Terry Sutfin at this show! $90 USD ($50 appearance fee + 4 workshops). 
1998-11-07  Burnaby, BC  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 7 Show  217 T=513842  VEC won 2nd Place in Popular vote contest = plaque + $150 CAD. 
1998-11-21  Puyallup, WA (Seattle)  Great American Train Show (GATS #05)  16200 T=530042  Huge show, Terry Sutfin dropped by. $110 USD ($50 fee + 6 workshops). 
1998-12-13  Portland, OR  Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)  575 T=530617  Terry Sutfin found space to squeeze the VEC into the 'Holiday Express' show for 1 day. 
1999-01-02  Spokane, WA  Great American Train Show (GATS #06)  13200 T=543817  VEC won 2nd Place ($460 USD check!). Fog so thick we couldn't see McDo across the street. 
1999-02-20  Portland, OR  Great American Train Show (GATS #07)  15300 T=559117  Terry Sutfin joined the VEC with his PVDC layout. Great FUN! $90 USD ($50 fee + 4 workshops). 
1999-04-25  Nanaimo, BC  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 7 Island Show  1050 T=560167  First show in Nanaimo. Greeted like alien invaders by organizers! Can't explain why. Fortunately the public loved seeing the VEC. 
1999-05-08  Bellingham, WA  Stampadoodle Store Promotion  50 T=560224  Had fun showing Z trains to rubber stampers for a day. 
1999-07-20  Ste-Anne, MB  Private showing for parents  5 T=560229  First time my folks had a chance to see the VEC. Then the whole family was off to St. Paul, MN for my first ever NMRA National Train Show. 
1999-07-23  St. Paul, MN  NMRA National Train Show 1999 (NTS #1)  19222 T=579451  1st national train show. Judges refused VEC entry to contest! Model Railroader Magazine snubbed invitation to visit the layout. Travelled 4000 km for big disappointment but not enough to abandon goal of national competition. 
1999-11-13  Burnaby, BC  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 7 Show  3025 T=582476  VEC finally placed on main show floor & attracts good crowds. Perseverence pays off! $115 CAD appearance fee. 
1999-11-20  Puyallup, WA (Seattle)  Great American Train Show (GATS #08)  15325 T=597801  Last GATS in Puyallup for the VECRR. $70 USD ($50 fee + 2 workshops) Had visit from Terry Sutfin w/grandkids. 
2000-02-19  Portland, OR  Great American Train Show (GATS #09)  11200 T=609001  Introduction of 3 suitcase VEC; shares 4th Place in Popular Vote with Marthe Simard's 'Kofferbahn' HOn30 layout. $240 USD ($200 prize + 4 workshops). 
2000-04-09  Nanaimo, BC  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 7 Island Show  1050 T=610051  VEC making friends now. A visitor from Norway joined us for the show, Björn Ädnoy. 
2000-04-20  Salmon Arm, BC  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 7 Show  1207 T=611258  VEC received NMRA Electricity certificate, did not qualify for Scenery certificate, judges did not like backdrop, details... 
2000-05-06  Eugene, OR  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 1 Meet  43 T=611301  Gave clinic on making fir trees, qualified for NMRA Author certificate, got points toward AP Volunteer certificate. Good meet. 
2000-05-20  Issaquah, WA  Pacific Northwest Region, Division 4 Meet  215 T=611516  VEC received NMRA Scenery certificate following changes including new backdrop. 1st - Best use of space / 2nd Place - Module 
2000-08-03  San Jose, CA  NMRA National Train Show 2000 (NTS #2)  20000 T=631516  2nd NTS: theme = Champagne of Model RailroadZ. VEC wins 2nd Place - Individual Module, gets NMRA Volunteer certificate. Most enjoyable train show ever. Travelled with Terry and Helen Sutfin from Vancouver, WA to San Jose and back. Marooned 2 days in Redding, CA after car broke down. Shipped VEC back East via Fedex from Redding. 
2000-08-05  Redding, CA  Mailboxes, Inc.  5 T=631521  Curious customers at Mailboxes Inc. asked to see the VEC while I was waiting to pack up it for shipment home via Fedex. 
2001-03-17  Toronto, ON  Toronto Train Show  7000 T=638521  1st show following move to Toronto. VEC qualified to participate thanks to status of virtual 'Club' on yahoogroups 
2001-07-08  Nashville, TN  Great American Train Show (GATS #10)   6500 T=645021  Nashville Coliseum, VECRR & Terry Sutfin's PVDC. VECRR took 2nd Place in Popular Vote. $440 USD ($400 prize + 4 workshops). 
2001-07-13  St. Louis, MO  NMRA National Train Show 2001 (NTS #3)  17146 T=662167  VEC = BEST OF SHOW National Champion and 1st Place - Individual Module with 105 / 125 pts. Surprisingly, this victory caused a mixed reaction in Z crowd, some ecstatic others reacted negatively... jealous perhaps? Despite championship and time spent with good friends Helen and Terry Sutfin, the negative attitude of a few Z-scalers left some bitterness. Also had to stand ground when Z-Module group coordinator tried to usurp the VEC's assigned space on the floor plan. Very irritating, indeed! Had great time with the NMRA, the public and press. Not so good with my fellow Z exhibitors...go figure? 
2001-07-18  Waukesha, WI  Model Railroader Magazine Photo Shoot  5 T=662172  Andy Sperandeo, Editor; Jim Kelly, Senior Editor; Jeff Wilson, Associate Editor worked on feature article about VECRR. Hi-res photos using Hasselblad were remarkable. 10 images were recorded for use with article which would appear in print 3 years later in the November 2004 issue of MR. 
2001-07-21  Grand Rapids, MI  Great American Train Show (GATS #11)  5350 T=667522  3rd Place Popular Vote. $380 USD ($300 prize + 8 workshops). Turnout was disappointing due to extremely hot weather, construction around site and poor parking. Friendly visitors and vendors made up for lack of crowds. 
2001-11-24  Toronto, ON  Toronto Christmas Train Show  8000 Total = 675522  Well organized show with easy access to exhibit area. Had good time with returning visitors to VEC. Had surprise visit from Jeff Rothfus, Buffalo, NY, who played devil's advocate and art critic role very well! VECRR featured in article in Toronto Star 24-11-01. 
2002-02-02  West Springfield, MA  Amherst Railway Society BIG Train Show (#1)  21621 Total = 697143  Great success, met many Z friends. Interviewed for Trainmania Track 7 TV show. www.amherstrail.org Invited back by Amherst Society President, Mr. Doug Moore. 
2002-03-21  Sinsheim (Heidelberg), Germany  Faszination Modellbau, BDEF 2nd USA modelers' Meet  45500 T=742643  3rd largest hobby show in Germany. VEC invited to display, 4 corporate sponsors (BDEF, Micro-Trains, Märklin, Kalmbach). ALL EXPENSES PAID for Terry Sufin and me. Photos by Alba Publications & SWR3 TV. Article in Marklin Magazin. 
2002-04-13  Akron, OH  Great American Train Show (GATS #12)  5000 T=747643  2nd Place Popular Vote. $480 USD ($400 prize + 8 workshops). 
2002-06-22  Erie, PA  Great American Train Show (GATS #13)  3500 T= 751143  2nd Place Popular Vote. $480 USD ($400 prize + 8 workshops). 
2002-07-19  Ft. Lauderdale, FL  NMRA National Train Show 2002 (NTS #4)  22531 T=773674  4th NTS for the VEC. A Great show, met many wonderful people and saw new and old friends. True story: "Ripley's Believe-it-or-not" offered to buy the VEC! 
2002-07-27  Birmingham, AL  Great American Train Show (GATS #14)  3000 T=776674  3rd Place Popular Vote. $380 USD ($300 prize + 8 workshops). Segment on NBC channel 3, Birmingham. NB: 100+ F in the exhibition hall, no AC! Had to take my wife to the ER to treat asthma attack. Absolutely worst experience at a train show. Last GATS for VECRR. 
2002-09-28  Rutland, VT  18th Annual Train Fair  1000 T=777674  Swap meet with two operating layouts, lots of nice folks, magnificent weather and enchanting Fall colours. 
2002-10-06  Calgary, AB  Calgary Model Railway Society Minimeet  168 T=777842  Val Ease West = Special guest of CMRS (first trip with VEW in checked baggage) 
2002-10-19  St-Bruno, QC  Montreal Z-scalers open house  6 T=777848  First showing to visitors in our new home in St-Bruno-de-Montarville 
2002-11-23  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#9)  2200 T=780048  After 5 year absence, VECRR returned for 9th appearance at this very enjoyable family-oriented show. 
2003-05-03  Gare St-Bruno, QC  Alouette Division Mini-Meet  35 T= 780083  Wonderful day in an historic former CN train station with heavy freight and fast passenger trains passed by all day. 
2003-08-10  Richmond, VT  NMRA-NER Board Meeting  10 T=780093  The board members got a chance to see Val Ease East before making their long drives home. 
2003-08-16  St-Constant, QC  Musée ferroviaire canadien / Canadian Railway Museum "Great Passion for Small Trains"  1600 T=781693  Wonderful show! By special invitation to Canadian Railway Museum's Exporail Train Show. Only 20 minute drive from home! 
2003-10-17  Utrecht, Netherlands  Eurospoor 2003  24750 T=806443  VECRR delared Best Layout by Z-Spoor Magazine at one of Europe's largest model train shows. Full expenses paid for VECRR crew consisting of Jeffrey MacHan, Montréal, QC, Terry and Helen Sutfin, Vancouver, WA. Our fourth crewmember, Jim Manley of San Jose, CA, almost made it to the show! (Contact: Leo Hendriksen, show manager - eurospoor@eurospoor.nl) SPONSORS: Micro-Trains Line, Ztrack Magazine, Eurospoor. Complimentary photo and commentary by Emmanuel Damsteeg, Z-Spoor Magazine #21. 
2004-02-07  West Springfield, MA  Amherst Railway Society BIG Train Show (#2)  20942 T=827385  Jim Manley, San Jose, CA, and Marthe Simard, Montréal, QC, joined me as crewmembers for this very prestigeous and popular show. This was the first show under the Exporail banner and we handed out a large number of flyers. A local TV producer and reporter interviewed me for a report on the show. 
2004-04-10  Sanford, ME  4th Annual Sanford Lions Club Train Show  615 T= 828000  Had a great show in Sanford. Our hosts treated us like VIPs. Met several friends from New England and Québec. 
2004-08-21  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#2)  5000 T=833000  The VEC operated for the crowds for the second time at this very popular event at the Canadian Railroad Museum. Following the close of the show, the VEC stayed behind, formally entering the permanent collection of Exporail
2004-11  Model Railroader Magazine  Feature article  November 2004: The VEC is presented to the world of model railroading in a 5-page feature article in Model Railroader Magazine. 
2005-01-04  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Christmas Display  10 T=833010  "Val Ease Summit Division" joined "Centre Val Ease" for the official "Golden Spike" ceremony January 4, 2005 at Exporail. Photos were taken and a toast offered in honour of the newest addition to the VECRR. 
2005-01-29  West Springfield, MA  Amherst Railway Society BIG Train Show (#3)  19496 T=852506  "Val Ease Summit", representing Exporail, accompanied Marthe Simard's "Kofferbahn von Sankt Bartholomä" HOe suitcase layout to the BIG Train Show. Crew: Jeffrey MacHan, Marthe Simard and Titi, our Lhassa Apso. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum. 
2005-04-03  Wethersfield, CT  NMRA NER Board Meeting  12 T=852518  "Val Ease Summit Division", representing Exporail, operated flawlessly for fellow NMRA board and officers. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum. 
2005-07-05  Columbus, OH  Ztrack Convention  100 T=852618  Presented VES Division construction techniques in a clinic as part of 2-day convention sponsored by Ztrack Magazine. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum. 
2005-07-08  Cincinnati, OH  NMRA National Train Show (#5)  17331 T= 869949  "Val Ease Summit Divison", representing Exporail, accompanied Marthe Simard's "Kofferbahn von Sankt Bartholomä" HOe suitcase layout to the NMRA National Train Show. The KvSB was awarded 2nd Place in the layout competition. Bonus to NMRA conventioneers: clinic "Game-based operations for small layouts". Crew: Jeffrey MacHan, Marthe Simard. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum. 
2005-08-01  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#3)  3000 T=872949  Full VECRR in flawless operation at annual Exporail Summer Train Show. The trains ran great and the crowds were very appreciative. "Val Ease Summit" officially joined the VEC in the permanent collection at Exporail. 
2005-10-15  Ottawa, ON  Railfair 28  3500 T=876449  VEW only. This was a very enjoyable show, hosted by the British Railway Modellers Association. The venue offered easy wheelchair access and was only twenty minutes from home. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum 
2006-03-25  Montréal, QC  Sun Youth Charity Train Show (#10)  600 T=877049  Ran VEW for the appreciative visitors at the return of the Sun Youth Charity Train Show after a 3 year hiatus. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum 
2006-04-01  London, United Kingdom  Festival of Railway Modelling  15000 T=892049  VEW representing Exporail was on display at the UK's most prestigeous model railroading event. Held annually at the Alexandra Palace Exhibition Hall. Crewmembers: Jeffrey MacHan and Peter Ibbotson. SPONSORS: Exporail-Canadian Railway Museum, Micro-Trains Line, Ztrack Magazine, Märklin USA.
2006-08-15  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#4)  14500 T=906549  The full VECRR (VEE+CVE+VEW) was presented to visitors during the Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum model railway weekend. 
2007-01-27  West Springfield, MA  Amherst Railway Society BIG Train Show (#4)  20000 / 2-day presence at 2-day event  Crewmembers Jeffrey MacHan and Yves Rousseau toured the event, interviewed the Z participants at the show, distributed Exporail brochures to interested modelrailroaders and invited the New England model railroading associations to visit the Canadian Railway Museum. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum 
2007-07-27  Detroit, MI  NMRA National Train Show (#6)  7871 T=914420  VES was displayed in the Ztrack Magazine booth. Crewmembers: Jeffrey MacHan, Marthe Simard. SPONSORS: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum, Ztrack Magazine. 
2007-08-18  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#5)  41250 T=956920  The VECRR carried more than 40,000 passengers during the 2006-2007 operating year at Exporail. 
2008-01-26  West Springfield, MA  Amherst Railway Society BIG Train Show (#5)  10000 / 1-day presence at 2-day event  Crewmembers Jeffrey MacHan and Yves Rousseau toured the event and distributed Exporail brochures to interested modelrailroaders and invited the New England model railroading associations to visit the Canadian Railway Museum. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum 
2008-03-28  Paris, France  Mondial du modélisme (World Model Show)  15000 / 1-day presence at 9-day event  Crewmembers Jeffrey MacHan and Judith Boivin toured the event and distributed Exporail brochures to interested modelrailroaders and invited the French model railroading associations to visit the Canadian Railway Museum. SPONSOR: Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum 
2008-08-17  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#6)  45000 T=1021549  The VECRR finally surpassed 1,000,000 passengers carried since March 1993. With the acheivement of this landmark I have officially "retired" from Z-scale and ended my regular column with Ztrack Magazine. Thank you to all who encouraged me along the way, especially VEC Life Members and my corporate sponsors: Exporail-Canadian Railway Museum, Micro-Trains Line, Ztrack Magazine, Märklin USA, Kalmbach Publishing, BDEF-the German Model Railroading Federation and Eurospoor.
2009-08-16  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#7)    The VECRR is on permanent display at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. For more information, visit www.exporail.org.
2010-08-22  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#8)    The VECRR is on permanent display at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. For more information, visit www.exporail.org.
2011-08-20  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#9)    The VECRR is on permanent display at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. For more information, visit www.exporail.org.
2012-08-18  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#10)    The VECRR is on permanent display at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. For more information, visit www.exporail.org.
2013-08-17  St-Constant, QC  Exporail - Great Passion for Small Trains (#11)    The VECRR is on permanent display at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. For more information, visit www.exporail.org.