The hall known as ‘Sala Speranza’ at Monte Karmeli Hospital has been transformed into a show window for a collection of over 1,500 miniature models including a display of old public transport buses that are hand manufactured.
These include the different route colours that carry a nostalgia memory during the annual Die Cast & Scale Model Society exhibition being held at the hospital.
Society President Alan Saliba said one can see the Birkirkara routes, the only locality that had two routes; one from Birkirkara to Valletta and the other from Birkirkara to St Julian’s. There is also the Birżebbuġa bus route that bears the locality’s colours, colours still in use today as well as the Mellieħa route bus in white with a pale blue strip.
Alan Saliba said the different coloured buses had various aims. During their time in use many people were illiterate and could not read the bus number or the bus route and the different colours enabled distinction of the bus they wanted to board.
The collection of buses is one of 33 collections that also include commercial and sporting vehicles, including a collection of cars made by a company that this year celebrated the 50th year of its existence.
Collector Stephen Borg said many people see the miniatures as toys while in fact today they are collector’s items and he is urging his son to take up the hobby and to start collecting.
Borg is a metal worker and believes the models have an environmental significance. He said today they are being manufactured from recycled metal and therefore something that is no longer required is being used to create something else that will remain as part of a collection.
Retired mechanic Sydney Zammit has a number of service models, including fire engines. Today he is no longer in the repair activity but the models reflect his memories and some of them he has himself modified.
Among the attractions is a model of Malta’s airport complete with aircraft as well as a complete circus. The exhibition will remain open until tomorrow.