Words & photos by Tony Penn except where otherwise credited
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This year we had an extra unplanned layout!! Due to Jez’s health wobbles the Lamming’s Hornby Dublo 3 Rail layout was withdrawn, as on Thursday Jez was still in hospital. So, with the B&WWMRC’s new DCC 00 test track’s wiring completed the evening before, it was decided to take it to Eden Park to fill the gap. Much to my surprise having setup all the layout tables in the church and with the Test Track up, I had a phone call from Jez to say, ‘we are 20mins away’. He had been evicted from hospital at 3pm they had decided to go for it!! A nice problem for an exhibition organiser to have. We rotated the test track 90deg and shuffled up the layout tables and now we had 13 instead of 12 layouts. So, a total of eleven layouts in the church, plus two in the main hall with the ten traders. The club shop again occupied half of the new halls and the much-praised café in the other half along with the TCS and HRCA stands.
Attendance was down slightly on last year, mostly because unexpectedly the weather was dry, and this is probably why we did not get the large number of families this time. However, all the effort in publicizing on social media was worthwhile as many of the families that did come had found out about the show from there. All the traders said they had done well and have will be with us again in 2019.
The thirteen layouts were all very different and with no repeats from previous shows. Many of the exhibitors have been with us for several shows, Mark Carne and the Chiltern Hills Group of the HRCA from the very beginning of Beckenham Vintage, but with very different layouts and themes.
The Tony and Jez Lamming’s Dublo three rail layout was enjoying its first outing in 18months and apart from a couple of minor issues soon settled down to running well. Dublo from all eras was well represented, although the stock for the pre-war clockwork track section was a little sparse (yup box left at home – not surprising with a last-minute decision to come).
The Chiltern hills group brought two of their Dublo layouts one two rail and a three rail. But to ring the changes they were given the challenge of running only ‘neverwasas’ (there Never Was A Dublo xxxx), so spot the original Dublo was a popular game and I failed.
Tri-ang was represented by Les Martin and Neil Smith’s brave but excellent Standard Track layout. Now the Tri-ang grey standard track is notorious for warping twisting and going out of gauge due to shrinkage and is normally bin fodder. This is because it is made from the unstable Cellulose Acetate which is responsible for many early Tri-ang product going banana shaped. However, the last of the standard track was moulded in polystyrene and is perfectly usable, although hard to find. Neil provided the track and Les most of the rest to create a real 1950s Tri-ang layout full of accessories.
Dave Lyon brought his Minic layout which combines Tri-ang’s trains with their Minic Motorway slot cars. It is intriguing to watch the cars stopping at the level crossings to let the train run through.
Bryan Pentland was running cheap and cheerful tinplate 0 Gauge British Trains, which are perhaps best described as ‘Woolworth’s toys’. Good condition survivors are rare and for exhibition running these had been converted to electric power from the original clockwork. The products of Chad Valley, Mettoy and others make an excellent colourful display and I particularly liked the Trolley Bus Scooting round on the road circuit.
Bromley Tappers stepped in at one weeks’ notice to provide the Modern Coarse Scale 0 Gauge with their test track. This is a three-circuit layout and was running all sorts from 9Fs, Warship Diesel and Brighton Belle. Judging by the number of people clustered around Tappers need have no concern about it being ‘just a test track ‘.
One layout that caught the attention of the scale modellers present was John Davies Scenic WW1 themed loose lay 0 Gauge Addlestrop. The scenery is so good that many didn’t realise it was loose lay assembled the previous afternoon and evening. Of great interest to those interested in Classic Model Railways was the incorporation of buildings from the late Norman Eagles famous Sherwood Section of the LMS layout. Attracting almost much attention in the car park was John’s daily driver a 1950s MG Magnette Saloon. He can pack the entire layout in side, but confessed he had to take some pictures so he could remember how he did it!!
JEP Mignon is a rare sight in the UK being 1920s French tinplate 00. Mark Carne put together a double oval with a third oval of Bing Table Top three rail also from the 1920s in between. The outer oval had a working overhead electric pickup and the inner was two rail. The slight arcing on the overhead proved it was working and the trains ran all day with no issues.
Photo thanks to Mark Carne
When Hornby 0 Gauge layouts are featured most are packed with all the expensive and rare items. But Adam Heeley put together a large layout of the lower cost M Series which has a charm of its own. Most of the locos were converted to electric power for continual exhibition use where the original clockwork would be impractical. But Adam also created a harbour scene, airfield and numerous other scenic accessories for a fascinating and packed layout.
Mark Tewkesbury and family ran Trix Twin with the original Bakelite track and many Neverwasa items for a real Southern theme. The Trix ‘Many Ways’ Station and other buildings are always impressive and feature strongly on this small well built layout that runs very reliably which is not always the case with Trix.
Tri-ang TT is well known, but Eric Large’s Beyond Tri-ang TT layout takes the story further with many kits and other items that continue in production to this today.
The TCS stand was present as usual manned by Rod Hannah selling back issues of the TCS’s Collector Magazine in both paper and DVD form. David Dawson Chairman of the HRCA with his wife provided the HRCA stand. There were several interested prospective members seen in earnest discussion with both groups.
Traders were represented by Elaine’s Trains, Richard Taylor, David Wills, Dixon Upcott, WM Collectibles, John Wilcox, WJVintage, Bob Smith, GB Models and the Kitmaster Club.
All ten traders have said yes to next year’s show and ten layouts have already been booked. So reserve April 6th 2019 in your diary.