Show and AGM Biggleswade March 21st 2015

Train Collectors Society AGM

Now the club is at Biggleswade twice a year, it only seems like yesterday when we were at the Summer Show. However this did not diminish the enthusiasm of members and we were treated to another excellent show organised by Brian Pentland which also including the club’s AGM.

As a committee member I was at the venue the day before albeit very late for the committee meeting due to hold ups on the M3, M25 and A1M! I was also able to set up my stall in the evening and enjoy a meal at Pizza Express in Biggleswade with some other early starters.

By 8am on Sat morning the setting up was in full swing and layouts were being laid out and trade tables filling up so that by 9.30 the show was up and ready.

Rod Hannah with help from Gordon Reed and Roger Burton did a great job on the cash desk and greeting visitors to the show as well as manning the club information stand. Also in the foyer and other areas were the new excellent TCS pull up display stands which will help promote the club in the future at other events.

The first exhibit was Paul Chapman’s display of O Gauge Lima, with almost every piece of the system represented, this was an impressive display and much admired. I was always fond of the Class 33 which was a good seller to the modelling fraternity.

Paul was also responsible for the Club Stand , this show’s theme was Shunters, and didn’t we do well, as a well known TV presenter would have said. Over 117 varieties of shunters were on display from Matchbox to LGB. A Sunnyvale Shunting Set with an LNER TT size tin tank engine and track took my eye as well as the four early Tri-ang 00 Switchers. It really was an impressive display with shunters from all parts of the world, well done everyone.

Tony ‘Steptoe’ Penn was having another clear out and did excellent trade on spares and items for restoration, I and many others were intrigued by a Marklin Hot Air Balloon, was it a trade display item?

Tony was also helping Malcolm Pugh who manned a very fast moving Bring and Buy stand, A total of over £600 of stock was sold resulting in £60 for the TCS. The most expensive single item sold was an early Hornby O gauge goods shed at £40 to our Past Chairman David Ramsey

the two accompanying stations sold for £65 the pair. Other O gauge included a huge bundle of Sakai and other interesting makes of track for a very reasonable £70, spare clockwork mechanisms for £20 and £15, and a blue Hafner coach in fair condition for £1! OO items sold included a very nice Triang 2-6-2T for £20, and a restorable 2 car EMU also for £20. Other items included a Loco Storage box for £30 and a rake of three 00 Gauge restored Exley coaches for £85. Unsold were some very nice Hugar lineside models and a rake of Lionel coaches.

Due to the demand for space a few few exhibits were along the side and end walls in the dinning room. Peter Berry was selling early British trains by Farish and Trix as well as a very an interesting display of Graham Farish and associated companies stock and literature. I spotted an ‘ice cream tub’ which was used by Farish to sell imitation coal and a rare West Models Crane.

Next was Michael Foster and Peter Bowes. Michael was launching his fabulous new book British Toy Trains Part 1, and what great value it is for £18. It is full of wonderful photos and information. I was one of the first in the queue to obtain a copy. The book will sell well as the NRM have ordered copies to sell. Peter also had on sale several books he has published including his Bing addendum.

Paul Brookes was another author promoting a book. This time the History of Hugar. Another excellent book, I heard it may now have sold out. Paul was also displaying Master Models and related series, I noticed the lovely Wee World boxed models, S & B Wagon Loads mint boxed and the Master Series Tyre Racks also in their original boxes.

In the corner Paul Draycott was displaying 00 Gauge RTR and Kit-built wagons from the 1930’s-1950’s. A subject I know little about as Paul reeled off names I have never heard off, RJD, ERG, Acro, Rex as well as familiar ones such as Ratio, K’s and Merco papers. There was also a unique set of wagons and lorries produced by Hamblings for a display by the Railway Systems Laboratories in 1953.

The last display in this room was the TCS advertising committee member Richard Taylor who was displaying his superb scratch-built Gauge 1 meths and gas fired Locomotives and re-modelled Big Big and Merlin and Peckett locos. I loved the two Metropolitan Tanks. Richard was also demonstrating various sound systems on a short length of track.

We now move to the main hall back via the foyer. Our first exhibit on the left is Reg Harman with help from Guy Brigden running Tri-ang TT on Type A track. A repainted blue AIA with an original rake of blue and grey coaches and a repainted blue Spam Can added some extra colour to a very good layout. Even more impressive was the famous Kay’s Golden Train which I spotted running later on in the day.

Pat Hammond was showing Hornby 00 Railways from the time they decided to become Model Railways rather than Toy Railways. Due to the launch of Airfix RTR OO and Mainline Railways in the 1970’s Hornby had to up their game and Pat had LMS locomotives from the 1970s to present.

Of particular interest was a Princess Margaret loco with a plaque commemorating a visit by Princess Margaret. Unfortunately she did not make it and the loco ended up back in the stores until Pat managed to obtain it.

As we move round Roger White’s Marklin HO layout with an impressive crevice was very popular. Running trains from the 1950’s -1980s he was running four tracks. A Dutch pantograph loco with DB lighted stock made an impressive sight . A Kibri station was also a nice addition.

Rachael, Bill and Michael Vyse were running Hornby Dublo 3-rail . A very neat layout with two loops, turntable and large loco yard. While passing a gloss ‘Montrose’ with a rake of BR coaches was running well. I also spotted a contemporary Bilezzi card Bungalow and garage. The Station was impressive using three station buildings

On the far wall were the larger layouts (using the stage blocks). First up was Richard Bingham with his popular Lionel Standard Gauge layout, taking advice from Steve next door he had an outer oval with and inner half figure of eight circuit. A 2-4-2 Tender loco with a train of Hoppers and Stock cars was moving fast around the layout. A Shell derrick with flame and nodding donkey pump caught my eye.

In the middle Steve Smith with help from Les Martin was running Tri-ang Big Big 0 Gauge. This had one of the best configurations I have seen and Steve was able to run 3 trains. Stock included late yellow Hymeks and coaches. Andy Hyelman also lent Steve his US Hitch ‘n’ Switch set which appears to have been made using Big Big moulds.

The last large layout was 0 Gauge Bassett Lowke with ACE Trains by David Knighton, Jonathan Ward and John Boyd. This layout had a London Transport Underground theme. A splendid B/L Ashfield station was one of the main attractions, incorporating the main station building, Island platform and end platform (made in the style of B/L) Running early on were two 3-cars B/L Underground sets, one had wooden sides and the other brass and both were made in the 1930s. Later on I noticed a more recent ACE Trains E17 ‘Dick Whittington’ pulling a rake of coaches and a LT Pannier tank with a goods train.

I was also delighted to see a large collection of Tri-ang Minic Buses, Cars and Taxis decorating the layout.

Coming round to the right side wall, John and Pauline Foreman had an O Gauge display titled ‘Delivering the Goods’ A collection of 35 mainly Hornby wagons with a variety of loads, it was fun to spot the different loads, one wagon even had real scrap metal, there were also several P0 vans, John also had an oval running Hornby tank engines with goods trains. As usual he was also selling some of his collection and old books were selling well.

Dave White with help from Neil Smith and multi taskers Les Martin and Steve Smith had a superb Tri-ang Hornby 00 Gauge 10’ x 5’ layout. Dave had used a layout plan from the April 1966 Meccano Magazine with some embellishments. His theme for the day was Southern and EMUs were everywhere including Neil Smith’s Tri-ang Brighton Belle. Neil also had a maroon Kitmaster Crocodile loco with two Jinty chassiss pulling a rake of SR coaches. Various Wrenn locos made an appearance as well as ‘Winson Churchill’ pulling a rake of Pullmans. With the canopy Station and Model Land buildings this was a very colourful layout. Dave also allowed me to place my recent purchase, a very well painted contemporary Airfix Guards Band in the Model Land High street.

Alongside Paul Williams had the smallest layout at the show. Paul who has a penchant for modelling had a 30 inch square layout, using late Trix Express track. Paul set up the scenery using vintage Tri-ang, Trix and Master Models as well as modern scenery and accessories. Of particular note was his mini High Street that included a Model Shop , Pentland Radio and TV Shop and the Train Collectors Pub selling Ramsey Ales. A neat card factory and Café were named after Paul and his wife. A small curved platform station which was able to take two short Trix bogie coaches completed the scene. A delightful layout that really deserves to be in Railway Modeller.

Next our Chairman Bryan Pentland had set up a trio of overhead railways including Disneyland Florida Monorail (with stretched supports) with Nomura Hanging railway fitted to the wooden supports. Bryan had three different tin Nomura trains which he had lovingly restored. Inside were two Casdon Monorails which were sold under the Winfield brand by Woolworths in the 1960s. Around the outside was a Paya 0 Gauge M1000 Union Pacific 4-Car set with lights. A great set up.

The middle of the hall was where the majority of traders were. General feeling was that it was a quiet day for trading although a few did report good sales.

Elaine’s Trains had a good selection of Tri-ang and Continental HO

Cliff and Margaret Maddocks had a selection of Binns Road stock as well as Tri-ang

Barry Saunders was selling 00 Gauge alongside Brian Baker who had a nice Golden Arrow kitbuilt Q1 for £75 and K’s Beyer Garrett for £250. Phil Goater also had a Little Engines Q1. Colin Totem was selling his Raylo Series models including the latest BR red and cream Railcar produced by ETS (I later saw one running on the B/L layout)

A splendid Seven Mills Model of a BR Doncaster green ‘Sun Chariot ‘ was also on sale for £795. Andrew Kwasniewski had his usual mouth watering items for sale including a collection of Tri-ang Model Land

Leon Mills was selling ACE Trains and reported good sales particularly the new Coronation Coaches (£325 for set of 3) and Britannia class Locomotives (from £695)

Tony Clements and Dave Pink had a repainted Hornby export model E320 in LNER black No 1368 for £395. A Colas Tanker and SR Hopper had earlier been snapped up

Simon Goodyear had a fantastic variety of items for sale. A Bing for Bassett-Lowke Gauge 1 ‘Sir Sam Fay’ had a price tag of £3000, a lovely Chad Valley Southern Set (with that wonderful box lid-see Michael Foster’s Book) for £150, A Brimtoy Loco and track, in a box that opens out to become a station and a rare Hafner set produced for the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1931.

Dave and Dale Angel had a large quantity of Tri-ang and I noticed two very desirable items, the Irish Livery Hymek for £65 and a rare R852C Go Electric Pack comprising 6V Loco and Battery Box for £75

Steve Knight and fellow club members were selling Kitmaster and other models

Tim Curd had Hornby and Ace Trains, Mark Carne a good selection of O gauge and yours truly an eclectic mix of stock with Tri-ang selling well, including a green Switcher for £90.

Food was provided by the same caterers as the Summer Show and the quality was excellent. However a few delays will have to be ironed out to avoid bottlenecks in the morning (bacon rolls) and to speed up the turnaround at lunchtime.

The AGM took place from 2pm -2.45pm. The good news is that membership fees are being frozen for two years and a Calendar for 2016 will be produced with a competition for the photos.

A huge thank you to Brian Pentland and his band of volunteers who helped put this wonderful show together.

It is not easy getting the balance right and pleasing everyone however from what I heard when chatting to various visitors it was spot on.

Bob Leggett

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