This was the first National Narrow Gauge Convention that I had a chance to attend, and it exceeded all of my expectations. I have had several major medical problems since 1999, and for awhile I thought that I would never be able to attend a national con, so this one was extra special for me.
Dave Camisa, my wife Nancy and I traveled to Portland by train on the Sunday before the convention. Dave rented a car and we drove up to Farmington. On Monday we took Gary Kohler's bus tour of the SR&RL. It was a great chance to see some of the old r-o-w, and the folks at the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad in Philips showed us a terrific time. In addition to riding in a coach on the trip out and a caboose on the way back, they put together a special freight train for us and we had a chance to capture it with our camcorders. If you are a narrow gauge fan, you should really pay the SR&RL a visit.
On Tuesday we drove down to Randolph, where we investigated the area where the Kennebec Central had its yard and engine house. It was pretty much overgrown so we didn't see much, but had a chance to get a feel for how much they had to cram in to a really narrow piece of land right on the river. A local Boy Scout troop and a group of volunteers have set up the Old Narrow Gauge Volunteer Trail along part of the r-o-w, and we walked this for about half a mile.
We then drove down to Wiscasset to visit the Wiscasset, Waterville, & Farmington Railway Museum. What a fantastic place! We rode another train under steam, and got to see their yard and shop. The museum personnel were extremely friendly and helpful. This is another must see narrow gauge attraction.
On Wednesday we registered for the con, then drove up to the Boothbay Railway Village where we got to ride another train pulled by a 1916 Henschel steam locomotive. They also have many other attractions, including an antique vehicle museum, a model railroad layout (under construction but running trains) and a nice collection of two foot artifacts and photo's.
Wednesday evening we attended Bob Hayden's On30 clinic and the On30 Conspiracy clinic conducted by Bobber Gibbs. Both were excellent, and at Bobber's we all got to do the ritual On30 howl.
Thursday was spent at the convention where we toured the dealers' rooms, visited the module layout setups and attended more clinics. Allen Littlefield, Les Davis, Dave Wingrove, Alan Carrill and Don Kralik gave an excellent clinic on railtruck construction and bashing. After the clinic Lee Riley came in to speak to us. When Lee was done a group of On30 moduleers got together for an informal session. It was great to meet other module builders that we had previously only know via the internet.
That evening we attended an excellent clinic on model railroad photography and photo editing conducted by my old friend Al Askerberg. Al has had some of his work published in the Gazette, and if you have seen it you know just how talented he is. I have corresponded with Al for over 15 years on the net, and this was the first time I had a chance to meet him in person. We also got a chance to see some of the beautiful entries in the model contest. After the convention closed for the evening a large group of On30 Conspirators converged on the rooftop lounge of the Eastland Park hotel for evening vespers. A perfect end to a perfect day.
We had to leave early Saturday afternoon, so Friday was our last full day at the con. In the morning we went to Don Culbertson's clinic on carving foam scenery. Don did an excellent job in convincing me that even I can do credible scenery by carving foam. In the afternoon Nancy and I visited the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum. The rest of the day consisted of more convention stuff. I finally got to buy some goodies in the dealer's rooms.
On Saturday we sadly had to take our leave of the con. In the morning we said our goodbyes to our friends and visited the modular layouts one last time. We got to chat with several On30 moduleers. Then it was time to go. We wearily boarded the bus to the Amtrak station in Boston. Very tired, but very content we arrived home. Needless to say we had no problem going to sleep!
I took over 600 photo's and alot of movie footage during our travels. Unfortunately I missed taking photo's of alot of thngs I had wanted to, but so it goes. I thought I'd put up these web pages to share some of the things we saw and did at the convention.
I've organized the photo's by topic. Just click on the thumbnail graphic below to visit that particular group of photo's. Be warned, there are alot of them! I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did in taking them.
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This page updated September 6, 2007
Webpage © Larry Rickert
Photographs © Larry Rickert