Report on the 2016 Summer Show held at Biggleswade 2nd July 2016
Words & photos by Bob Leggett
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Titled All Trains Great and Small and with worldwide appeal this year’s show did not disappoint as we had trains in N Gauge all the way up to Gauge 2 and trains from behind the Iron Curtain to South Africa. Bryan Pentland, Show Organiser and Chairman of the TCS did another great job in putting together the annual exhibition which again had another good attendance. Thanks again to Elaine’s Trains and Dave Angell for their sponsorship which helps enable the Society to put on these events.
Many exhibitors had set up on Friday night so when I arrived early Saturday there was already a buzz around the building. Despite the Centre double booking one of the rooms on the Friday night (again) the show was up and ready by 10am and the public were allowed in before the official start of 10.30am. As usual I will describe the show as we enter the main foyer.
Tony Stanford, Rod Hannah, Paul Chapman Eric Large and others were on the door taking money and promoting the TCS. Being such a friendly club David Embling was also allowed to have a HRCA Stand!
In the foyer was Jeff Carpenter with help from …. running early German 00 Gauge, this included Bing, Issmayer, Disler, Bud and a small set from Schumann. The layout included a high level Issmayer section with a delightful High Level Station. Running well all day this was a superb and rarely seen layout.
Malcolm Pugh with help from Paul Chapman ran the club Bring and Buy sales stand. There is always a chance to pick up bargains throughout the day as items are deposited as people arrive at the show. In fact some of the better buys came in late on. They included a pair of Bing Gauge 1 bogie coaches for £150. A bargain box of Trix with several engines and stock all requiring some TLC went for £20 and an Airfix 4F nicely converted into a Q Class sold for £35. Total sales were £632 and with commission and donations the club will receive £83.20. Well done Malcolm and Paul.
Off the foyer is the usual Dining area which for the Summer show is set up for displays and sales tables. Steve Smith with help from Jacob, Les Martin and Dave White had set up an excellent Tri-ang Big Big layout with several trains running at once including the Circus train with animals and a display of boxed sets including a couple of ex shop quality. A very colourful and popular layout.
Along the wall Dave Coddington, a well known Tri-ang collector from Scotland, had amassed a unique collection of Tri-ang Transformers from around the world. I particularly liked a Canadian ‘green ‘version although examples from UK, France, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and even South Africa were on show. The number of variations is quite extraordinary. Filling the room were traders Mike Delaney and Michael Bond.
Moving out into the foyer and opposite we have two rooms with displays and layouts.
In the first room Reg Harman with several helpers had a ‘Southern Hemisphere’ Tri-ang Standard Track layout which included a very rare Tri-ang South African maroon Baltic Tank pulling two South African Coaches, a rare sight indeed. Other items were from Australia and New Zealand including stations. As is usual with TC stock this was a very colourful layout.
David Ramsey with help from his wife Amalia were displaying a mouth-watering collection of Hornby O Gauge Trains for export. I was particularly interested to see the variety of SAS/SAR stock as well as FCCA locomotives and stock. There were so many other rare examples it was almost too much to take in.
Alongside David Holt had an interesting collection of Model Trains available in the 1950s. Just about every popular kit and RTR was exhibited including CCW Coaches and Exley as well as examples of 1950s Model Railway Magazines. There were also many Bilezzi sheets and made up models. A much admired display which attracted a lot of attention.
One of the more interesting displays for me was a Bayko and Betta Bilda Town with an 00 Gauge Railway, created by Robert Palmer, Gary Birch and other members of the Bayko Club. I was very impressed with the huge ‘St Pancras’ style Canopy Station in 00 Gauge, made using hundreds of Bayko windows. Also I spotted a quartet of Betta Bilda ‘post war’pre-fabs diorama and an 00 station and Art Deco style garage. I had Betta Bilda in the 60’s and was impressed at how good the models were for OO Gauge.
In the second room David Lyon had a non-railway display that nevertheless was just as popular with visitors. David’s collection of Tri-ang Lionel Science and Famous Inventor series were advertised in Tri-ang Railway Catalogues in the early-mid 1960’s and many of us may not have had these sets but are strangely familiar with them. The amount of detail Tri-ang went to was incredible and it was a fascinating display. Several people mentioned to David they had some of the sets when young.
Bill and Rachel Vyse were running O gauge with a scenic setting. I liked the Hunt meeting at the aptly name ‘The Fox’ pub. Various cars and buildings made this a nice layout to spend a few minutes watching. A Hornby County and ACE Boadicea were running round with appropriate coaches when I was passing.
Mark Carne was running O Gauge Trains with Stations and Accessories up cycled by the late Mike Barritt. Mike had a clever knack of restoring by hand painting to appear original without trying to exactly copy the original design. I was very impressed with some repainted Bing stations and a Carette water tower.
One of the smallest layouts was an original two piece vacuum formed layout by Lone Star which Phil Goater was running. A diesel and two coaches was running well around the layout which has a continuous operation with various Gulliver’s Buildings, Trees and Lone Star vehicles. For those interested Phil is looking to sell the layout for around £250.
The final display in the room was another excellent presentation by Pat Hammond who had over 60, Royal Scots, Patriots and Jubilees, all by well know OO Gauge manufacturers such as Hornby, Bachmann, Mainline Airfix, Dapol, Rivarossi and Lima. Pat was also selling and signing the latest Ramsey’s Guide and had for sale various Lima Diesels.
We now move back through the foyer to the main hall. And moving around to the right we come to the smallest layout at the exhibition. Paul Williams had a micro N gauge scenic layout measuring 15’’ x 12’’; running around on it were Tomix and Modemo stock with a Continental Café in the centre. A very sweet layout. Paul, as Treasurer and Membership Secretary, and assisted by Rod Hannah, also took on the task of renewing memberships throughout the day.
Next to Paul was Bryan Pentland who as well as organising the show had a wonderful layout comprising Eastern Bloc Tinplate O Gauge Trains. This included Russian Trains by Moscobel which were only available to high ranking officers so are rarely seen. The Diesel engine is incredibly heavy. Other trains from Hungary and Czech made this a very interesting and colourful layout.
Roger White and Don Hall had their aptly named Hornby Dublo 3-Rail layout ‘Whitehall’ which has now been extended to 13’ 6’’ x 5’ and was full of scenic accessories by various makers including Master Models, Hugar and vehicles old and modern by Matchbox, Dublo Dinkies and even Oxford Die cast and Skaledale. I was impressed by a converted Graham Farish blue ‘Lamport and Holt’ running around with a rake of Dublo Pullmans, I also spotted a converted Dublo diesel into the prototype Deltic at the Oil Terminal (which was made using an island Platform canopy). Earlier in the day a Bob Wharrier Silver A4 with silver coaches was running round looking very serene.
John and Pauline Forman once again excelled with their lovely scenic O gauge ‘Wildean’ layout named after John’s Grandfather ,this layout was full of little details with a busy central lane which took many hours to set up. I as usual loved the large tin Church which John had set up to overlook the layout.
David Knighton and friends had set up a Gauge I layout with pre-grouping trains by Carette, Marklin, Bing and Bing for Bassett-Lowke. A B-L station obviously in the rush hour as it was full of people waiting for a Marklin GN loco to arrive. At the back David had also set up a display of pre-WW1 Gauge 2 Locomotives.
David Peasant had a bit of a change this year, although still O gauge this time they were running the smaller systems such as Chad Valley, Mettoy and Brimtoy. It was like it had been taken straight out of Michael Foster’s new books. I was very impressed with a Chad Valley 4-4-0 with an ETS mech supplied by Michael Foster! Several sidings full of trains with nice scenic diorama’s made this one of the most colourful layouts at the show.
In the corner James Day with help from Gordon and Diane Whitehead were running a very impressive G Scale Playmobil layout using remote control on plastic and metal track. All the locomotives were battery operated and ran beautifully round a very complicated layout that filled the boards and ran right to the edges. I loved the Old Timer Locomotive and was also impressed with the camera which was set up on one of the trains. To complicate matters even more a block signalling system was in operation. All the locos were fitted with magnets that changed the signals as they passed them.
(And we also have a youtube video of that Playmobil layout here…..
Hope you enjoy!)
Roger and Barbara Burnish and friends were running their neat Hornby Dublo 3-rail layout. A ‘Thomas’ N2 with two chopped down coaches was apparently in demand from the younger visitors. I liked to busy station scene and I understand the converted two ex Dinky 0-4-0 locomotives have been successfully convert to a double headed ‘Fairlie’ and was running round earlier in the day.
Neil Smith was running the second Tri-ang Standard Track layout complete with catenary. Standard track is notorious for difficult operating however Neil’s layout which was full of TC Locomotives and stock ran superbly all day. I also spotted another rare Tri-ang maroon Baltic, just like the No 12 bus, you never see them and two were running here today. Neil’s neverwazzas were also impressing the visitors, a Beyer-Garrett and Crocodil style locomotive.
Amongst the layouts Michael Foster and David Bowes were promoting the 2nd Edition of their book British Trains as well as selling some ETS mechs and other items. Michael informed me the 3rd book is well on its way and should be with us by March next year.
Several Clubs were represented including the Kitmaster Club who had their usual excellent display, and The Leeds Stedman Trust, promoted by David Peacock, who also was selling various spares.
Most of the traders had a fair-to-good day with many sales concluded towards the end of the day. Simon Goodyear said that top end items were selling better than the lower priced items. Elaine’s Trains had a good day and I spotted a Tri-ang Hornby Motorail Set that Elaine sold for £85.
Catering was again provided by Rashmi and his able team who were busy all day and produced some fine lunches yet again. The home-made Samosas were particularly recommended.
Well done to Bryan Pentland and all those who helped, exhibited, sold and came to the show to make it another successful day for the TCS.
More photos can be found here
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