TRI-ANG RAILWAYS - Greg's Recollections

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My father purchased a Tri-ang trainset for me when I was way too young to appreciate it. In fact I suspect the train set was actually for him but bought under the pretence it was me My first recollections of my Tri-ang trainset is of it being set up on the lounge room floor of our home in Tramway Street, Mascot (a Sydney suburb near the airport) and my dad playing with it and my being lucky to get a go.

We moved when I was seven (Jan 1961) to what is now known as Roselands, and the Tri-ang lived on top of my wardrobe. It remained there untouched in it's box. It was not until I was bored one day aged 12 that I got it out and set the train up. It was immaculate. Still in the original box. The box was of course red, and the inside yellow. There were slots in the box for the train (a green Princess Elizabeth), the coal carrier, and it had two carriages which were from memory - grey roof, cream and brown sides. Oh, there was also a green rolling stock item of a type which I presume would have carried ballast for railway lines or coal or whatever. It had on opening in the bottom which had a lever to open and shut it. I think my father must have purchased that last item as an additional piece.

One day my uncle came around (approx.1970), took the box and said "You don't want this, let's give it away so that some kid can use it". It was sad seeing this immaculate trainset disappear and I immediately regretted not speaking up and telling my uncle I wanted to keep it. But within seconds it was gone and he was out the door.

There was something about the quality of the engine that impressed me. It had a made to last precision about it that seems lacking in today's throw away society.

I remember there was also a little station house also made by Tri-ang. I also had an original brochure which showed the various trains and carriages on offer.

I guess my train would have been purchased in about 1956. Also from memory it was made in England.

Here is something else. A friend from school, Ray Powell (same surname, no relation) had the largest train set I have ever seen. And yes, it was all Tri-ang and built by his father. It took up just about a complete large room of the house which was at Lakemba. His dad had built it and it was on a huge table which had been built just for the train set. It had a complete control set up and two stools at one end, complete with push buttons fitted on a panel on the side to enable the switching of the numerous lines.

There was no expense spared on this train set, it even included tunnels, bridges, railway stations etc. I found out years later his dad had worked for a well known Sydney bookmaker.

Greg Powell

Top illustration from Tri-ang 1958 catalogue, CB&M editor's collection.