Biennial model railway exhibit opens at Milang

Saturday and Sunday, November 27th and 28th, will be big days in Milang, as a special event is being held which will have strong appeal for both adults and children.

The biennial Milang Model Railway Exhibition at the Milang Institute (at the corner of Coxe Street and Amaroo Avenue) and the nearby Light Rail Centre (on Daranda Terrace) will fascinate those who like to see the skills of hobbyists at their creative best.

Previous model railway exhibitions in the town have been exciting events, very well attended by model rail enthusiasts and those who simply enjoy a day out by the lake.

Visitors have been amazed at the sophistication of the layouts and of the operating model trains.

This year the exhibition features a number of gauges (N, HO, G and one Lego exhibit), with 9 layouts featured in the Institute and 3 in the Light Rail Centre.

The Institute will also accommodate 3 traders and a refreshments area.

The Light Rail Centre is part of the Milang Historical Railway Station Museum which has many important exhibits, some interactive, including a steam locomotive driving simulator, free train rides, an electronically talking station master who answers questions and diesel locomotive demonstrations (last demo 3pm).

For those with a strong sense of history, one of the layouts, in N gauge, depicts the branch line from Sandergrove to Milang, which operated from 1884 to 1970.

The line was, for those 86 years, Milang's major link with Adelaide, via Strathalbyn.

It provided an important link for a while with the paddle steamers which moored at the jetty.

A tramway ran from the jetty to the goods yard for loading freight items to the branch line wagons and also to the Landseer properties on the opposite side of Daranda Terrace.

While you are there, don't miss Milang's most recent asset, "Nuggett's Trail".

It's a trail of interpretive signs which bring to life a good deal of the history of the operations.

The research and planning for the trail's interpretive signs were done by a sub-committee of Milang Station Museum volunteers.

Nuggett was the horse which, for many years hauled a wagon along the jetty tramway. He died the day following his owner's unexpected death.

Entry to the exhibition is $10 for adults with free entry for accompanied children under 16.

The exhibition has been held biennially since 2017 and could not have been operated without the aid of volunteers from the Milang Station Museum, men and women who have assembled the museum from scratch, following the branch line's closure in 1970.

After the closure, removal of almost all the railway equipment, including the station building, which found its way to a farm, left little evidence that there had ever been a railway station there at all.

The achievement of the volunteers is truly remarkable. They work Tuesday and Friday mornings every week at a labour of love in restoration work. More volunteers are always very welcome.