A large model railway show with lots of impressive layouts and various trade stands this isn't. With no more than 12 exhibitors this had a more intimate and family feel than the large show at Stafford. In fact it took me just 20 minutes from entering to have seen every stall. Had I not stayed for a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich from the refreshment window and not made three circuits of the room I would never have made my visit last an hour.
I had hoped to find some scenic items amongst the trade stands as I need a few things for my next scenic project on my Skaleby layout. Sadly I was to be out of luck. Most stands featured a good mix of new and second hand Hornby and Bachmann locos and rolling stock and some items of Lima, Hornby Dublo and Triang, but featured little in the way of scenic items. The only such stock available was from "Derby Trees" who were selling their range of HO gauge trees from a stand alongside the "Famous Trains" charity. This is a group who are trying to construct a large OO gauge model railway in a building inside the city's Markeaton Park.
The lack of scenery seemed to spread to the layouts within the show. There was an ecletic mix of layouts, most of which fell into the "train set" category. These featured a series of ovals with trains travelling around continuously, never leaving view, with a few storage sidings for spare stock. The big attraction was that the layouts featured models from the past and some manufacturers and ranges long consigned to history.
One layout featured a display of Triang Hornby with an A4 and an 8F travelling around in opposite directions hauling passenger and freight sets respectively. The only loco on display was an 08 shunter parked in the sidings at the rear. The scenery consisted of a few buildings and a little scatter material with no variation in height, no hill or enbankment in sight!
Another exhibitor displayed a collection of old tinplate clockwork Hornby 0 gauge, whilst another had an impressive collection of working Lone Star. Three circuits of track featured British and American outline models hurtling around at breakneck speed.
There was also a small N gauge display of two circuits stuck to a green baise board and a large working display of Triang Battle Space. The only out and back layout was an "L" shaped Thomas model. Trains arrived from the fiddle yard to a large station area complete with engine shed and goods yard. Whilst the buildings were all present no other scenic work had taken place and it did look like the buildings and track had been placed onto the table at the start of the day. There was no run round facility so trains pulled stock one way and propelled it the other.
As a modeller who visits shows to admire others work, view spectacular models and gain ideas and inspiration for my own layout - this show did not provide anything for me. But for those who like to view the models from yesteryear it was perfect. The constant movement of trains also provided plenty of entertainment for the children who are not going to be interested by constant shunting and interventions from the great hand in the sky. Maybe this show will act to inspire these youngsters to be the modellers of tomorrow. There was certainly a decent crowd of youngsters enjoying the action.
What the show did do for me however, was to plant a little seed of an idea in my head. If this was run as a fundraiser for the church, perhaps I could convince my headteacher to allow me to run a similar event in our school hall. Maybe that would provide an ideal event for my school's latest fundraising drive. Now there is an idea!!