Santa Clara was the site of the 2006 edition of the National Garden Railway Convention. The Bay Area Garden Railway Society would serve as its host. Santa Clara is in Silicon Valley which is just south of San Francisco and around 20 minutes from where I live. Though I don't currently have a garden railway and none is planned for the foreseeable future I couldn't let this opportunity pass. Because it was held the week of the 4th of July holiday and I would be returning from Las Vegas that weekend I had to limit my attendance to a single day. I chose Thursday because that would get me into the train show that was to be held at the end of the convention as well as allowing me the opportunity to visit several garden layouts that were holding open houses.
While my schedule unfortunately did not allow me to attend any of the seminars that were held as part of the convention I did attend the Large Scale Train Show where many of the companies involved in this segment of the hobby were able to show their products. The featured car of the convention is a 1/24 scale G-gauge Cable Car (powered) made by Accucraft Trains that retailed for $300. By the looks of it this was a very popular item and I know that I longed for one.
The range of companies was quite extensive with representatives from AMS, LGB, Bachman and Aristo Craft to name a few. Some of the notable products I saw were:
- Steel Bridges by
Eaglewings Iron Craft
- Power Controls by
- Live Steam by
- Wireless Throttles by
Mention should also be made of detail parts by Ozark Miniatures as well as new publications by Garden Railways Magazine. To top it off the Bay Area had a short line modular layout and the Live Steamers had a layout as well to run their live steam locomotives. This was my first American national convention as most of NMRA's conventions are held in the East Coast or mid-west which is the center of model railroading in the United States. Though I model German prototype there is much to enjoy and learn at these conventions.
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22nd National Garden Railway Convention