This Baby-Boomer's OBSESSION
How did you become interested
Thank you to the person who sent me an early
Tri-ang pages hosted by the Collecting Books and Magazines web site based in Australia.
CURRENT SUPPLIERS OF SPARES
TRI-ANG RAILWAYS FLICKR PHOTO GROUP | SYDNEY'S
20th CENTURY TOYSHOPS
NSW TRI-ANG AGENTS, circa 1960
SALE page (local pick up only)
|TRI-ANG PAGES||MY STORY|
It all happened one birthday
back in the 1950s.
My parents gave me a bright red box about SO big ( holding
out arms like a fisherman describing the catch of the day)
lettered with unique yellow printing and, best of all, a
colour illustration on the box top showing a huge
train layout! Those two lucky boys admiring their model
railway sure had something to smile about. The top was
quickly lifted to reveal a realistic looking steam tank
loco with several goods wagons. My train was soon running
around its simple loop of grey ballasted track, to my
great delight. Everything else was forgotten for the
moment, even the Meccano set which would eventually be
put to use, constructing girder bridges. Soon after a set
of points, level crossing and station added interest to
the loop, still put together when required on the
(suitably) green Feltex-covered lounge room floor.
Eventually a Transcontinental silver-grey diesel A-B-A set and matching US-style cars necessitated an increase in space; to a baseboard which was to again prove too small. Mum and Dad kindly donated the closed-in rear verandah, about 12ft by 8ft, and we began constructing waist-high baseboards with storage cupboards below. Dad was a fine carpenter so all supports were really solid, being 4x3 inch oregon. One could safely stand on the finished 5-ply baseboard which was about 2ft wide, apart from the removable section near the doorway, which ended up fixed to improve the look. I doubt if I would be capable of ducking under the board nowadays as I did nearly half a century ago. One Christmas the bright yellow Transcontinental diesel switcher arrived, and this would become my favourite loco, despite Princess Elizabeth arriving somewhat earlier. All four locos were good runners but the A unit was the best performer, if memory serves me correctly.
I often made the long trek from my home in Bankstown to the both helpful and cheerful Tri-ang agent at Yagoona. (O'Brien's, on the Hume Highway; a combined sports store/toy shop which sold bicycles and the like. In Australia, it was common for shops to handle both genres. When I spent time travelling the countryside looking for obsolete Matchbox models decades ago, most of my good finds came from sports stores which still had old toys pushed away in a corner or stored out in the back room.)
So what happened? The only item apart from a run of catalogues and a grey diamond crossing (!) which survives is the cover of the original REX train set box. The box was used to store the Dinky and Corgi MIB diecast collection, the disposal of which still brings pangs of horror. To save space, the top of the box was removed and stored under many other things, where it lay almost forgotten for 20 years. Like the majority of kids from the 1960s, I sold most of the collection and moved into slot cars (shock and horror). But only 1/24th scale, which were run at the local slot car centre at Yagoona. With the demise of the local track in the 1970s, (Yagoona Straightaways, run by Jim?) the cars disappeared and the thought of model trains again filled my fertile brain. But, I'd bought Lima (it being far cheaper at the time than the now Tri-ang-Hornby) and also Minic Motorways. A layout was constructed but somehow Lima lacked the character of Tri-ang. It just didn't give the same pleasure or perhaps, the motors ran TOO smoothly. And who can forget that familiar SOUND of the early Tri-ang power bogie?
Various memories have popped up while typing these notes. There was a toyshop in Pitt Street, Sydney - Searle's. They were one of the few, maybe the only, toy shop selling off new trains at discount prices at the time. One can find ads for them in early issues of AMRM. I purchased a Lord of the Isles set (similar to an R640 set but including driver and fireman) for the pricely sum of 2 guineas (about AU$4.20). This brings to mind another memory of selling this set much later; during the 1990s. I'd advertised the set for $95 in the Trading Post; and that was a big ask. But a chap turned up to view it. I had the loco in a display case and when I removed it, the money was dropped into my hands as he took the Lord lovingly while I looked frantically for the box which still contained the carriage and figures! I found it, turned around but he had dashed outside to his car and departed. Amazing! Nope, I regret I disposed of the box, etc., several years later. Just in case you wondered. Still with Searle's, they sold off Sydney Red Rattler sets at bargain prices; I recall a pile of em.
As for Minic Motorways, there were stacks of the commercial vehicles which no self-respecting lad would buy. But the lovely black Jaguar police car and single-decker bus found their way onto my layout. And once more, no good asking; I sold the entire Minic Motorways collection to a chap at Mt Isa for about $20. Sob.
Searle's also sold off lots of Tri-ang and Rokal TT; sets, single items and accessories. But I'd moved to N like many people, and most of this I still have, packed in the cartons first filled 20 years ago. What a pity I'd not packed away the Tri-ang, but many others, I'm sure, could relate a similar story.
THE FIRST AWAKENING came about in the 1990s, thanks to Frank Barker, then the local New Cavindish agent, who sold me a damaged copy of Pat Hammond's first volume, Tri-ang Railways, The Story of Rovex. I'd done him a trade for a number of the Hornby-Meccano companion books and in the NC catalogue which accompanied these was an ad for Pat's book. One might think I would have read it cover to cover, but along with the Corgi Book (still haven't opened it) I put it aside until a couple of years ago when I had to move house. Once opened, I read it from cover to cover, and the urge began to manifest itself, particularly as I'd earlier come across Dave's web site. I retrieved the catalogues and ephemera, then as a seller of books on eBay, made the fatal error of putting 'Tri-ang' and 'Triang' in the search engine.
THE OBSESSION now is to reconstruct something of the layout I had almost half a century ago. The two early photos, taken with an old Brownie 620 box camera, show but one corner. No doubt even the Airfix buildings and lineside accessories would be expensive these days. They were indeed bargains back then. There are a couple of early vehicles, plastic, I've no clue of the brand. My interest in Tri-ang fell away with the arrival of Series 3 track. I've a special love of the grey track; it always looked nicer with the inbuilt ballast. It still does; Tomy seem to have copied it for their N set track The trouble of shrinkage puts the majority of people off it but I'm looking at ways of hiding the gaps, possibly by cutting sections from damaged pieces and inserting therein. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
SO FAR I've picked up a relatively early green Princess, lacking the W'shts valve gear and the two matching 9-inch carriages, plus a similarly early double-ended Transcontinental diesel and four coaches. Okay, I didn't have the latter, but I always wanted 'em! The Princess is bodily undamaged but the transfers are poor, and gone from the tender. I've not yet tested either loco but as they were, according to the seller, stored for 40 years, they are unlikely to work. Ah, well; it will give me something to do. A supply of track should arrive soon. The day I'm typing this, I picked up several more items on eBay including a Hornby Dublo jinty. I really wanted a Tri-ang one but this will have to do for now. Well yes, I've a funny way of working towards an obsession!
2006. Many more items have come my way including
a rake of Tri-ang TT SR coaches. Soon after a Jinty
arrived and it looks as though TT will deplete my
resources even further! ROKAL was mentioned above which
seemed a good enough reason to buy a couple of samples.
So now I have a Rokal German-Jinty equivalent 0.6.0 tank
loco and ONE coach. And a stack of Minic Motorway track
with nothing to run on it. Ah, the joys of collecting!
Use the links to explore other pages.
Collecting Books and Magazines MAIN INDEX
NSW TRI-ANG AGENTS - SYDNEY CITY
Eden Distributors PL, 110 Bathurst St
Hobbyco, George St
J Levensons, Pitt St
J Searle, Pitt St
Walther & Stevensons PL, 395 George St
NSW TRI-ANG AGENTS - SYDNEY SUBURBS
Super Models, 46 Imperial Ave, Bondi
J P Clancy & Co, 844 Pacific Hwy, Gordon
Cyclops & Lines Bros, (Aust) PL, William St, Leichhardt
O'Brien's Toy Shop, 189 Hume Hwy, Yagoona
NSW TRI-ANG AGENTS - NEWCASTLE and elsewhere
Ells, 78-80 Hunter St, Newcastle
Taken from 14th edition Dealers' Guide
CURRENT SUPPLIERS OF SPARE PARTS
High quality replica resin
and cast metal parts for Tri-ang Railways, Tri-ang TC,
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