Report on the 2014 Summer Show held at Biggleswade 12th July 2014
Words and photos by Bob Leggett
A perfect day for a Train Show ensured a good turnout at the new venue for the Summer Exhibition.Using more rooms than the AGM and with more ‘Public Friendly’ layouts this was a successful change which was forced upon the club due to the high costs of the school in Sandy.
Tony Stanford and Rod Hannah did sterling work all day at the door and manning the club information table. A healthy number made the new location and obviously enjoyed the show as many stayed all day.
As usual the variety of layouts was incredible and I will describe them as visitors found the various rooms.
Room 1 on the left had a wonderful Vintage Gauge 1 layout by David Knighton, Jonathan Ward and John Boyd. The main rolling stock was circa 1909-1920. As I was passing a Bing for Bassett-Lowke Precursor Tank was running round. Other stock included Marklin for Gamages and Carette for Basset-Lowke.
Christine Hodge with help from her husband Rodney had a lovely N Gauge Mid West Town scenic Model Railway layout called ‘Charlieville’ circa 1950s-60. Rolling stock by Bachmann and Atlas also included old style Wild West stock. The amount of detail was excellent and I spotted a hard to find 1950s model of a US Military 1950s Bell Helicopter that Christine spent years hunting for.
Also in the room were well known traders Mike Delaney and Michael Bond.
In Room 2 we had David Lyon with a fascinating display of Tri-ang Lionel Science Sets. David had all the sets familiar to those who know the Tri-ang Catalogues from the 60’s.
The amount of detail in each set is amazing and one set included moulds to make a Space Capsule and a Boat. David was taken back by the amount of interest this display generated.
Also in the room was Len Mills with the latest ACE Britannia class, super detailed Festival of Britain ‘William Shakespeare’, a superb engine with a retail price of £745, I’m sure it will sell out before too long. Len Bunning was selling second hand books and other ephemera.
Moving along to Room 3 Paul Chapman was exhibiting for the first time and had an excellent Lima 0 Gauge layout and display. Included were UK and Continental outline and a large display of sets and other Accessories. Trains ran well all day and Paul was kept busy with a steady flow of admiring visitors.
Pat Hammond had a mouth watering display of Mainline Railways. This 00 Gauge system was only produced in Hong Kong by Palitoy from 1979-1983 (although many moulds were passed on to other makers) Pat had a large selection of Prototypes and several examples of each class of locomotive produced backed up with excellent information sheets.
Neil Trump with assistance from Alan Parkes was running a three track American Flyer S Gauge layout. This layout is probably the only one that will be seen on the circuit now as there are so few collectors of this gauge. This is possibly the only exhibitor in the country running this system which is still popular in America. As I was passing a smoking, noisy Union Pacific Challenger (a junior type Big Boy locomotive) was meandering around the circuit. I was amused by the shape of the American Flyer Controller which reminded me of a toaster! I think Alan must collect Toaster look alikes!
As we move towards the main hall, the lobby had two exhibits. Phil Goater was running Lone Star 000 on his 1960 pre-formed layout. With all the scenic accessories this looked great and ran very smoothly, Phil also had a display of Lone Star Push and Go using metal and plastic track as well as a sales table selling Tri-ang and other items including a Hornby pre-formed layout.
Opposite Sandy Transport Society had a collection of models including Chad Valley Tractors and various transport related books and ephemera.
We now move into the main hall where all the layouts are on the outside and traders mainly in the middle.
As we move right the first layout is by Exhibition Manager Bryan Pentland, a Tinplate 0 gauge layout which was full of colour, action and accessories and fun to watch. As well as standard Marx and other trains running around the main layout there was also a tinplate Cable Car set operating all day up to the top of Cold Mountain and a Santa Claus Hand Cart and other items running around the Mountain. A huge number of tinplate buildings by various makers filled the tables.
Alongside The Chairman of the HRCA David Embling and his wife Monica had set up a neat Hornby 0 Gauge post-war layout. I also noticed an ACE Metropolitan and London Transport 0-6-0 Tank. Monica’s cricket team was also displayed in the centre of the layout. The boards used were originally built for an 00 Gauge layout and it was interesting to see how effective 0 gauge can be even in a small space.
Dave White with help from Steve Smith had a ‘Amalgamation’ Tri-ang / Hornby Dublo 00 Gauge layout with four passing loops all complete with Catenary which took three hours to install. There were three types of stations including the maroon ex Dublo terminal station and early Tri-ang Hornby Canopy station. Dave ran a variety of stock including E3001 and Electras as well as other locomotives. A nice re-painted Davy Crockett also made an appearance. Some say putting operating points on an exhibition loose lay layout is mad, adding catenary must be another step further!. Well done.
John and Pauline Forman had an allsorts O gauge layout full of fascinating accessories and buildings including yard cranes and a superb tin Church. Of particular interest was a superb curved tinplate embankment which I had not seen before (maker unknown). Stock included Bassett Lowke, Bing, Carette, Mettoy and Mills.
Next were Bill and Rachel Vyse with a ‘Day at The Races’ themed O Gauge layout. Stock included a Hornby Eton with a Cunarder headboard and a rake of Southern Coaches. A very early Totopoly set took pride of place with card horses. Bayko provided the ‘Racecourse ‘ buildings, a super idea and well executed.
Neil Smith and his brother set up a two level Tri-ang 00 Gauge Standard Track Transcontinental layout. This looked terrific and I spotted several switchers and a variety of Minic Push and Go vehicles including the rare Oxygen Tanker from the Space set. Transcontinental is always very colourful and this layout did not disappoint.
Dave Coddington and family travelled down from Scotland and had a very extensive TT layout and display with three small layouts using both types of track and a Kay’s Golden Train taking pride of place in the middle. Stock was running well all day and this was as we come to expect a fine set up by Dave of this short lived system (1957-1964).
Flying the flag for Trix was Dixon Upcott who had a fibre and plastic 3-rail track layout and running mainly 1960s stock. I was very impressed with the Transpennine 3-car unit and amount of circuits and accessories which Dixon fitted into a small area.
Paul Williams had the smallest layout at the show with his micro Trix/Bing Table top scenic layout. The buildings and accessories were mainly 1920s Bing Table Top Railway and the stock 1950s Trix. A wonderful example of what can be achieved in a small space.
In the middle among the trade Tables Steve Knight with help from Marcus Archer had their superb display of Kitmaster models, built and painted by Marcus, Steve was also selling a variety of stock.
The centre of the hall included several well know traders from around the country. Reports from most suggested that visitors came to buy and overall the trade did well. Tony Penn who persuaded the Beckenham and West Wickham Model Railway club to have a stall said they were so pleased with sales they have already booked for next year! Two traders Elaine’s Trains and Dave Angell together with Richard Jackson jointly sponsored the show and the TCS is very appreciative of this wonderful gesture.
The tea and refreshments bar was busy all day, so much so that we will have to have a two till system (teas/other drinks and food) next year.
A huge thank you to Bryan Pentland and his group of helpers for putting on such an excellent show.
It is always difficult to adjust to new venues and apart from a few minor hiccups the day went very well. Roll on next year!
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