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MASSIVE OPERATING STANDARD GAUGE MODULE ASSOCIATION LAYOUT SEEN AT THE WORLD'S GREATEST HOBBY ON TOUR SHOW AT OAKS, PA

HUGE CROWDS JAM LOCAL HIGHWAYS - SOME ATTENDEES UNABLE TO REACH EXPO CENTER

Text and photos by Jim Kelly

The Standard Gauge Module Association (SGMA) presented what may be the largest ever operating standard gauge layout seen by the public at the World's Greatest Hobby Show On Tour (WGHS) at Oaks, PA on January 3rd and 4th, 2009. SGMA members from the Midwest, New York State, Washington, DC, and the Philadelphia area converged on the small Philadelphia suburb of Oaks on Friday, January 2 to set up a huge modular standard gauge layout measuring 80 feet long by 32 feet wide. The layout featured three main lines of standard gauge tinplate track with 84", 72", and 42" diameter curves. Also featured were the Association's now famous Horseshoe Curve modules as well as two scenic ravine modules and two new mountain modules.

The WGHS event marked the opening of the new Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks. The WGHS show occupied in excess of 100,000 square feet of Expo Center space and featured over 25 operating layouts and 200 manufacturer and retailer booths. WGHS promoted the show heavily with print advertising, TV spots, over 40,000 direct mail postcards and over 25,000 emails. The result was a massive turnout on Saturday morning that clogged local roads in Oaks.

According to reports, police were forced to close the Oaks exit of PA Rt. 422 at one point and some people many not have been able to reach the show. Several SGMA team members were unable to reach the Expo Center until an hour after the 10 AM opening of the show to the public on Saturday morning. Crowds inside the Expo Center on Saturday were huge with spectators at the SGMA layout standing three to four deep at times.

The SGMA team begins setup Friday morning.

Chris, Wayne and Max setting up a scenic mountain module.

An impressive string of ACE Trains glass station canopies on SGMA team member Bob Nelson's modules.

The sights, sounds, and smells of Standard gauge tinplate in action attract onlookers.

SGMA member Bert prepares to swap out trains on one of the main lines while guest operator TCA President Clem Clement gives away one of Lloyd Wisner's trains!

Joe, Danielle, and JoAnn Mania get "the pitch" from Clem Clement.

Kirk oversees the display on the SGMA Horseshoe Curve modules.

An unusual track cleaning car sees duty on the 84 inch main line courtesy of Clem Clement. Clem, what did you do with the Fuller Brush Man?

Many toddlers found a convenient way to get a good view of the tinplate.

Lights and action provoked much amazement and many smiles. Many show attendees took the opportunity to photograph the SGMA presentation.

The SGMA team at Oaks: (L to R): Chris Bogus, Bob Nelson, Max Champion, Jon Hinderer, Kirk Lindvig, Pat Rolland, Jim Kelly, Jim Cottzolla, and Bert Schuck

For more information on the Standard Gauge Module Association, visit the SGMA web page by clicking here.

To see more photos visit the SGMA photo album web site here.

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