Report on the 2015 Summer Show held at Biggleswade 11th July 2015
Words by Bob Leggett, photos by Bob Leggett, Keith Bone & Pat Hammond
A pleasant summer day with a hint of rain was the perfect weather for yet another excellent show organised by Bryan Pentland and members of the Train Collectors Society. Despite the lure of the Ladies final at Wimbledon, the attendances were up this year and in particular the number of local families, thanks to the big banners and local advertising. Visitors were given a feast of wonderful layouts, from TT to gauge 1.
At the entrance Tony Stanford and Gordon Reed were collecting money while Rod Hannah was doing sterling work on the TCS Stand. Opposite were David and Monica Embling who were manning the HRCA stand. Also in the foyer was Tony Penn, with ‘Steptoe’s Yard’, selling plenty of spares and accessories.
Alongside was Malcolm Pugh, aided by Paul Chapman, running the club bring and buy stall. This was a new feature for this show, although a regular feature at both the Spring and Autumn events. It was very successful with £740 being paid for second-hand items during the day and commission from this, along with donations, raised £87 for the society’s funds. Malcolm was amazed as the table kept refilling as members arrived throughout the day bringing their surplus collectables. During the day French HO sold well, including a pair of Acho signal gantries for £50, an attractively boxed GeGe station for £30 and a boxed Jouef BB diesel for £25. Amongst the British items, a lovely 3-car set of maroon 00 scale Exley coaches sold for £77, along with 8 kit-built wagons for a similar amount. A nice Tri-ang catenary set plus half as much again was quickly sold to a visitor. Two large trays of 0 gauge tinplate wagons and coaches at £3 or £4 each sold well through the day and an excellent boxed Paya Jacobs van sold for £15, as did a Lima coach for £10 and a Rivarossi DB diesel for £45. A pair of Bachmann G gauge wagons sold for £65.
The first room on the left contained delights for Tri-ang fans as Eric Large had his excellent Tri-ang two level TT layout. This was full of scenic detail, including plenty of Model-Land buildings and the TT cattle dock. His stock was running superbly all day.
Alongside were Dave and Elspeth Coddington with a fantastic display of Tri-ang 00 trains from Australia and New Zealand. Full of rare items, this was a popular display and amazed John Robertson, who was visiting from Australia. In the display I noted a very interesting Frontiersman set that was prepared in the Tri-ang factory for reps to show to their retail clients. It contained Davy Crockett and one coach and was eventually produced for the export market. However, it is a shame that the production model had such a plain lid and not the attractive one produced for the sales reps’ samples and seen in Dave’s display.
Also in the room Mike Delaney and Michael Bond were selling a variety of trains.
Back to the foyer and straight across were two more rooms. The first had a mouth-watering display of Carette trains displayed by David and Amalia Ramsey. Mainly dating from between 1909-1914, these were made principally for Bassett-Lowke to sell in Britain. For displaying this almost complete collection of everything made for the British market, David had used the club display stand, which was full to overflowing. I was particularly impressed with the rare Orpington Station.
Opposite the Carette display, Peter Berry was running Graham Farish 00 gauge that had been produced in the 1950s. He had an excellent loco yard full of Farish locomotives as well as some of the 4mm scale buildings made by Graham Farish.
Also in the room was Dixon Upcott selling Trix and other models and I noted a pre-war Hamblings overlaid articulated Southern two-coach set for only £15.
In the second room, Pat Hammond was displaying trains that had a connection with India. Of particular interest was Crown Railways who had bought Tri-ang redundant tooling from Lines Bros. in the 1960s, which included the TC baggage car, EMU centre car and two Primary Series wagons. Another first for me was the ex-Tri-ang saddle tank produced by ETI (Electric Trains of India) and called Leo Express, which was sold in the ‘Chook Chook Train Set’. Powered by batteries this would have been an interesting feature in the UK. Pat also had on display British out-line sets by Bachmann and Amro (American Rovex) that had been produced for the American Market and which used British made models.
Rachel and Bill Vyse had a large 0 gauge layout with the theme ‘Holiday and Excursions’. They were running the type of trains sent from the large cities to the seaside destinations around the country. There were various railway posters, a jigsaw depicting the seaside destinations and stock from Hornby, Ace, Darstaed and Lionel was running on this popular layout.
Also in the room were Bill Bourne and Phil Goater, both with selections of railway accessories for sale. Phil also had a small Billerbahn layout and other interesting models on display.
In the main hall were the rest of the layouts around the walls and the majority of traders in the middle of the room.
Mark Carne was selling 0 gauge trains and Paul Brookes had plenty of Master Models and other Wardie items for sale, as well as remaining copies of his two recent books – ‘The Illustrated Kemlow Story’ and ‘The Illustrated History of Hugar’.
Next to Paul, the refreshments were being served. The food was excellent and produced much quicker this year by the local professional caterers.
On the left wall of the main hall, Neil Smith and his brother had set up a wonderful loose-lay Tri-ang Transcontinental two level layout on ‘standard’ track. It had four running tracks including three with live catenary. I saw a double-header Steeple Cab train running and also two NSWR ‘Red Rattler’ sets and a maroon ‘Baltic’ tank. The track was incredibly shiny and Neil explained he had sought out only the polystyrene grey track and every piece had been stripped and cleaned.
Alongside was the local branch of the Locomotive Club of Great Britain, which has regular meets and excursions.
Bob Field and other traders were also along this side of the hall.
The far wall had three large layouts, all of them very different.
Steve Smith and Joshua Thompson were running Tri-ang Big Big with a triple loop layout that enabled plenty of variety in running. Trains from all the various periods of Big Big were on show, as well as two bright blue girder bridges.
In the middle of this group of three were David and Peter Peasant with one of my favourite layouts. It is in 0 gauge with a huge amount of scenic detail. This included Tri-ang Minic and a collection of Minic taxis awaiting the arrival of the next train. Britains’ Soldiers, a Triple Hornby station and many other items were provided for the visitor to spot. Running on the track was a variety of stock from Hornby, ACE, Darstaed and others. An ACE Eton with Darstaed SR coaches was doing its duty when I was passing and I also noted a Bassett-Lowke cattle dock.
At the end were David Knighton and friends with a pre- and post-WW1 gauge 1 layout. This used Marklin track and stock from Bassett-Lowke, Bing and Carette. There were also some gauge 2 locomotives on display. A wonderful Bassett-Lowke 1930s wooden station, full of station staff and passengers, took pride of place.
John and Pauline Forman, who always produced an interesting display, had a two-level Lego layout. In the centre was a Monorail Airport Shuttle and there were three running tracks around the outside. I was particularly taken with a Hornby style signal box John had built, as well as the third cattle dock of the day, which he had also constructed.
Next were Val and Tony Scott with their ‘Psychedelic 1970s’ layout by Faller, including Hit Train and Mini-Playtrains. These trains have to be seen to be believed and they seem like they were inspired by someone on a trip, but not a train trip! I love the quirky engine shed and the Adler type Mini-trains locomotives. This layout just makes you smile.
Roger and Barbara Burnish had the scenic Dublo 3-rail layout which is certainly not for the purists. It included MasterModels accessories and a repainted 0-6-2T in ‘Thomas’ colours. I even spotted a 3-rail Hornby Toby the Tram Engine pulling a train. This was very popular with the many children who came to the show.
Bryan Pentland, TCS Chairman and organiser of the show, along with Paul Williams, had a Tinplate Trains Wonders of the World layout and display. Set up on two large shelf units, Bryan had an amazing display dating from the 1930s onwards. A display of Wells floor trains was also fascinating, and a Wolverine Funicular Railway set, which operated when a marble was placed in one of the cabs. A Brimtoy tank engine with correct tender (!) was pulling a rake of Brimtoy coaches on the 0 gauge circuit, in the midst of the display. I was also impressed with a colourful battery operated ALPS Stephenson’s Rocket on the inside circuit.
Michael Foster was selling the last few copies of part 1 of his series of books titled ’British Toy Trains’. He is hoping part 2 will be available at the TCS Leicester Autumn Show. I can’t wait, as the first book is excellent and a must for all train collectors.
Steve Knight and members of the Kitmaster club had a small display including a rare Lord of the Isles (loco only) produced by French Nescafe and a nice conversion from a Sterling Single to a Crampton.
Among the Traders were Elaine Harvey (trading as Elaine’s Trains) and Dave Angell who both sponsor the show, along with Robert Jackson. Many thanks to all three for their generosity. Colin Totem was selling the latest ETS 0 gauge USA Tank for under £350 and other traders included Cliff Maddock, Dave Pink, Simon Goodyear, Brian Baker, Chris Ford, Graham Coleman, Bob Leggett, Andrew Kwasnieski, Beckenham and West Wickham MRC and Peter Dunk.
Well done to Bryan Pentland and everyone who helped at the show. These large shows take a huge amount of time and energy to organise and run well. Apart from an invisible caretaker for part of the time, it went very well with attendance up on last year.
More photos can be found here
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