This weekend Fordingbridge Rotary Club put on the first ever Fordingbridge Model Railway Exhibition and my club, the Gosport American Model Railroad Group, was invited. So we brought our modular layout, Solent Summit, along with us and in this post I wanted to share with you some of the other layouts that were at the exhibition.
Fordingbridge is a Medieval town in the New Forest District of Hampshire, England and the local station, before it was closed on 4 May 1964, was part of the Southern Railway. That being said the majority of the layouts were based on the Great Western Railway, a very popular modeling choice here in the UK.
As is often the case when we have our layout at a show, we get very little time to see the other layouts properly, and I think I miss a lot of the true highlights and rolling stock they have to offer, but I have tried to get some shots that give you an overview. Hopefully the layout owners will let me know if I have something wrong!
The first layout I looked at was Gorpeton Blymee, this OO gauge layout belongs to members of the Wimborne Railway Society and they were also there to help operate it. The layout is a based on a fictional GWR station set between 1940 and 1950. Below is an overall shot of the layout, the main line emerges from behind the factory buildings on the left and runs through to the station area. To the right of the picture are the yards for the factory.
The layout is setup so switching (or shunting in English) of the freight yards can be done without disrupting the main line movements, this meant that there was always something going on. The controls for the yard were positioned at the front of the layout with the mainline being controlled from behind.
The layout was very nicely detailed with lots to look at, it had a nice feeling of being busy without being cluttered. I found out that the factory buildings are actually US outline HO buildings but they worked perfectly in this situation. I guess there is a shortage of large factory buildings for the UK market.
The next layout was Melcombe Abbas built by the Romsey and District Railway Modellers Society.
This again is a OO layout and is based on a small terminus in Dorset. The motive power and rolling stock is mostly Southern Railway but in British Rail livery used after nationalization of the railways.
Next to Melcombe Abbas was Aldermouth.
Aldermouth is an O scale layout built by James Edwards from the Farnham & District Model Railway Club. It portraits a fictitious GWR station set in the 1930s.
Being O scale the level of detail is greatly increased and James has clearly spent a lot of time building up the scenes.
The front of the layout had an acrylic screen protecting the layout which made some shots a little hard to get.
Whilst I was watching the layout this little GWR 0-6-0 and shunter’s truck where working the yard.
In the station was one of my GWR favorites, their iconic diesel railcar. Because of the shape and the colors of the GWR paint scheme they were affectionately named ‘The Flying Banana’ .
Several of the buildings also had interesting names, in the picture below the fish monger on the right is called C.P.L.Jones, anybody that has watched the BBC’s television program ‘Dad’s Army’ will understand.
The blue telephone box in the picture below is a police call box which was also made famous by the BBC with an unnamed Doctor.
Outside the entrance to the exhibition we also had a surprise visitor.
Bitza is a freelance steam lorry that was fired up and running in the car park.
The next layout was Bradbury Junction.
This is a OO layout of a GWR Country Junction.
The track work on this layout was really nice and it looked like it had been hand laid.
Kidwelly Castle was in charge of the passenger train sat in the station.
The layout had two loops running around the layout and around the back was a beautifully sceniced section of main line running through a cut on the hill side.
The color of the grass captured the full green we get here in the English summertime. Below is a video of Kidwelly Castle running through the cut with a GWR 2-6-2 small prairie tank going the other way.
In the same room as Bradbury Junction was the highlight for me.
Corris is a 009 layout built by Rod Allcock. The layout represents the town of Corris in Wales on the Corris Railway in 1930. This layout is simply beautiful and the level of detail is just stunning. Talking with Rod he said he wanted to create more than just a layout, he wanted to create a picture that the trains run through, and I think he did just that.
The layout is very nicely finished in its own display stand, enclosing the picture. The layout is lit by strips of LED lights.
Here is a video of a train running through the scene.
Looking from the left end of the layout you get a nice view through the station building and here is a video of the train coming towards you.
Rod either scratch builds or uses parts from kits to build his locomotives and they are very impressive. They run smoothly and don’t have any issues with power pickup despite the limited number of wheels.
To give you an idea of the size, below are two photos with some of Rod’s locos in the palm of my hand.
What amazed me was the weight, the unpainted locomotive at the top of my hand weight more than many of my US outline diesels! That helps explain why power pickup is not an issue with so few wheels.
The locomotive below was even smaller and is powered by a mobile phone vibration motor.
The final layout, not counting our own, was Holm. This layout is a fictitious OO gauge layout set between Wales and the West country in England and is based on the GWR.
The layout has some very nice detailing and felt to me exactly as it should, after all, I grew up between Wales and the West Country.
The layout even had that essential British building, the Pub!
And to finish off the post I could not resist showing a few videos of our Layout, Solent Summit. Here is a troop train headed by UP’s mighty Big Boy.
And finally, much to my surprise the troop train came out of the coal mine not through the main line, sack the signal man I say!
And that just about covers the Fordingbridge Model Railway exhibition for 2014. A big thank you to the Fordingbridge Rotary club and to all the Exhibitors.