Shearwater Railways

Back row, from left: Patrick, Sam, and Trevor. Front row, from left: Paul, Lori, and Shawn.

Planes, trains, and... bricks?

MariLUG recently took flight! Well, that's not entirely true, but we did host a train show at the Shearwater Aviation Museum on July 15-16, 2023!

This show was our first Nova Scotia train show post-COVID, and it was a great experience to display on Canada's ocean playground! Similar to Fundy Railfest this show included two layouts; MariLUG's collaborative layout with more modern trains and buildings along with MOCs as well as a vintage town and train layout supporting LEGO from the 1980s. 

As always, it takes a team to put on shows like this! Our team for this event comprised of Lori, Paul, Patrick, Sam, and Trevor, who each contributed modules for this event and helped watch over the displays throughout the weekend. An additional thank you goes out to Trevor B. who served as event coordinator for this event. Trevor has been planning this event in the background for months now, and we are certainly grateful for it! Additionally, we would like to thank Victoria for creating our poster for this event. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the Shearwater Aviation Museum and all of its amazing staff for hosting us on this sunny and warm weekend. You can learn more about the Shearwater Aviation Museum on their official website.

Getting tables setup and Level takes a significant amount of time

Day 1: Setup and prep

This show was quite notable for being our first two-day show since COVID-19, three days if you include setup. As early as noon on July 14th our members started to arrive at the Shearwater Aviation Museum to setup tables for the show. Selecting the right tables for the job and putting them in the right location always takes a lot longer than expected In this case, it took a few hours (and a few car runs) to complete. Designing a layout for this show was particularly unique in that the space we had was exceedingly long but narrow.

One question we often get asked is "How do you plan your layouts when you have three or more people bringing modules?" and the answer is easy: Bluebrick. Bluebrick is a layout planning software that allows us to plan our layout and the tables we use ahead of time. Our members simply discuss what they plan to bring, and we assemble everything together in bluebrick. 

More information about Bluebrick can be found on the official website.

Our Bluebrick setup for Shearwater Railways

Our members often test-build their sections of layouts at home first. This was part of Trevor's section.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are our modules, they take weeks, months and sometimes even years of preperation and design before they get seen in person at a show!

Once the layout is setup at the show, we begin placing trains on it. This often involves testing the track and unique choreography to setup things correctly.

Days 2 & 3: Showtime

July 15th started at around 10am for most of the team as we put the finishing touches on our displays, and prepared the space for visitors to arrive at our 11am opening. From there the show was busy with kids and adults alike being amazed by the trains and buildings! Some of the key highlights were Trevor's lighthouse and Sam's windmill, which each featured lights and motor-driven components! Our Event Manager Shawn also stopped by briefly to say hi to the team and chat with members of the public.

July 16th was pretty similar to the previous day. The crowds again loved the trains and due to it being a little quieter than the previous day, some great conversations were able to occur between team members and curious kids and adults alike. This included private city tours, building tours, explanations regarding trains and other powered components, and some fun scavenger hunt-like activities for some kids (can you spot the green duck in our layout?). Finally, with the help of some museum staff Sam and Trevor managed to work on a unique project to capture some interesting views of the city from a minifigure perspective (more to come on that in a future post!).

If you are interested in seeing other past displays or exhibitions, or want information regarding our upcoming shows, check out our Exhibitions page!

Photo Credits: Paul Duncan (@Pollocks01), Sam Chute, Shawn McLeod, Trevor Benoit.


Shearwater Aviation Museum

34 Bonaventure St.

Halifax, N.S.