Exhibition Preparation

This week’s post will simply be a quick note about what I have coming up as this is a very busy week for me; just as this week was last year!

The main reason why I’m so busy is this Sunday, the 5th of November, will be the Poole & District Model Railway Society’s annual exhibition held at Poole Grammar School on Gravel Hill.  And this is my second year as the Exhibition Manager.

Again this year we have fifteen exhibition layouts at the show plus P&DMRS’s own layout which is based on Poole. We also have several demos as well as the usual traders to fill all your modeling needs. The full list can be found on the P&DMRS’ website here.

Once all the preparation was done for last year the actual exhibition was great fun so this year I’m really looking forward to it!  So wish me well and I’ll see you on the other side!

A Few Upcoming Exhibitions and Events

This week’s post will be brief as I’m in the middle of the preparations for the Poole and District Model Railroad Society annual exhibition, which will be held on the 5th November 2017. This exhibition will be at the Poole Grammar School, Gravel Hill, Poole, Dorset BH17 9JU.  More information can be found here.

Also coming up on the radar is the NMRA (British Region) annual convention which I normally try and give a rundown of the fun stuff going on there, but sadly this year I’m not able to attend.  However, the convention is running from 27th to 29th October at the Derby Conference Center, London Road, Alvaston, Derby DE24 8UX and opens to the public on the 28th if you want to go and have look.

Also that weekend my N Scale group from the Gosport Model Railroad Club will be taking our layout, ‘Solent Summit’, to the Newbury Model Railway Exhibition hosted by the Newbury Model Railway Club.  The exhibition is at St Bartholomew’s School, Andover Rd, Newbury RG14 6JP and you can find out more here.

I do hope that if you’re able to make it, I’ll see you at the exhibition in November.

Bournemouth N Trak Convention – 2017

As promised in last week’s post, this week will be about the Bournemouth N Trak Convention which was held here in the UK last weekend.

For those who don’t know what N Trak is all about, have a look at my post covering this convention from 2014 which can be found here.  I gave a description and showed many shots of the N Trak layout, the same one we used this year.

As usual a real mix of rolling stock and locomotives run on the layouts over the three days as all the participants run their new acquisitions and their tried and tested favorites.  For example, below you can see a modern-day UP heritage locomotive and an 1880s 4-4-0 working the yard.


Yosemite Valley Railroad 4-4-0 No.22 waits for a train as other locomotives go about their duties.


Later in the day No. 22 moves some freight cars into the lumber mill.


Although switching the industries is fun the main action on is on the three main lines and we had plenty to see.  Union Pacific had a big presence and not just in quantity.  Below is a video of a weathered Scale Trains 8500 Gas Turbine running through town.

Not to be outdone a brass 8500 GTEL made by Overland Models was also running the rails, again nicely weathered.

In fact we had several of the new Scale Trains 8500 GTELS on the layout. Here’s another one with a long train of ethanol tankers.  Hmm, large turbine exhausts and ethanol tankers, is that a good idea?!

But just as with the real 8500 Turbines, these were replaced and what could be better than the A-B-A set of C-855s from Alco?

But they were short-lived and now we have a pair of EMD SD9043MACs hauling a wind turbine train.

Plenty of other railroads had a good run as well.  Below is a Southern Pacific cab forward.

A pair of Santa Fe GP30s with a fast freight.

A pair of Santa Fe FP40s with the ‘Cat train’ delivering Caterpillar machinery.

And a brass set of Milwaukee Road Erie Builts with Hiawatha stream liner.

Switching carried on in the background as you can see by this Pennsylvania S2.

Again the Black Diamonds came with several modules from their large modular collection; this time it was a large grain facility.




This allowed a lot of switching action while the main line remained busy with trains.


A motel was situated at one end of the grain facility, ideal lodgings for rail fans.


As usual the layout was topped and tailed with large looped yards.


There were several other scenic boards in the setup, such as this rustic farmstead.

bournemouth-n-trak-2017-11  But my favorite section was the twin bridge across the river.


This also added operational interest to the layout as everything else was a double track main line, except this bridge, so trains had to wait their turn to cross.


And it was at this bridge where I managed to catch some trains on film.

A Western Pacific stream liner slows and runs across the river.

This Micro-Trains collectors’ set of State cars, locomotives and caboose looked very impressive.

My Southern Pacific overnight train made an appearance powered by an A-B-B-A set of F7s.

A lone Santa Fe FP45 pulls a long freight over the river.

An Arizona Eastern Railway trio of locos trundle over the bridge with a mixed freight.

And finally, do you remember that 1880s 4-4-0 from the beginning of the post?  Well here it is crossing the river with log, freight and passenger car train.

This convention, although small, is always great fun and I would like to thank the members of the N Trak, the Black Dimonds, Neil’s Engaging Trains and the N scale Architect for making the event happen.

Next week I’ll be back to 3D printing and will have some new couplings to share with you.

A Great End to a Great Exhibition

So this weekend was another exhibition with the Gosport AMR group layout ‘Solent Summit’ and we were at the Hampton Court Model Railway Club’s exhibition ‘Tolworth Showtrain‘.

The show is a two-day exhibition, and fills three large halls with a great variety of layouts and traders. We took eighteen of our scenic modules totaling 71′ of mainline plus two staging yards, each with 116′ of trains.

And much to our surprise we won, by popular vote, the ‘Best Layout’ of the show award.


In truth we tied with another large British outline OO layout, but given there were lots of fantastic layouts at the show, we are very pleased.

So thanks should be given to our team who set up the layout, ran it for two days and packed it all away, having a great time along the way.


I had a lot of 3D printed locomotives and rolling stock on the layout which created a good deal of interest.  EMD DD35s, Baldwin DT-6-6-2000s and Alco C-855s were hauling freight trains around the layout and Yosemite Valley Railroad log cars could be seen trundling up and down behind Yosemite Valley 4-4-0 No 22.

Sadly my camera wasn’t working so well and a lot of the videos I took haven’t come out as I had hoped.  That being said I have a few to share with you even though they may be a bit fuzzy.

N Scale trains over the Warsash Wye Trestle (Tolworth Show 2016)

N Scale trains at the road crossing (Tolworth Show 2016)

UP C-855 Set with a reefer train through Watson’s Siding (Tolworth Show 2016)

Having gained experience of organizing and managing a show I have even more appreciation of the exhibitions we are invited to take part in, and this show in particular was very well run.

Next week I should be back to drawing some 3D projects and I will share the progress with you.

A Season of Exhibitions

This week’s post will simply be a quick note about what I have coming up as this is a very busy week for me.

The main reason why I’m so busy is this Sunday, the 6th of November, will be the Poole & District Model Railway Society’s annual exhibition held at Poole Grammar School on Gravel Hill, and for the first time, I’m the Exhibition Manager.

psmrs-2016-poster-a4There will be fifteen layouts at this show including my other club’s US layout ‘Solent Summit’. Fingers crossed the show goes smoothly, I’m looking forward to it and it’s been a great experience learning the ropes of putting on a show.

And the fun doesn’t stop there because the week after, the 12th and 13th of November, Solent Summit will be at the Hampton Court Model Railway Club’s exhibition ‘Tolworth Showtrain‘.

And to round up the fun the Gosport American Model Railroad Group we will also be having a small exhibition at St. Mary’s Church Parish Center, Alvastoke, Gosport PO12 2ET on the 19th of October and a smaller section of Solent Summit will be there, as well as other models from the group.

That’s all for this week. Wish me well for the show, and I’ll see you on the other side!

The Andover Modelex 2016

As promised in this week’s post I’ll be bringing you some photos and videos from the Andover Model Railway Club’s annual exhibition, ‘Modelex 2016’.

The exhibition was held at the John Hanson School in Andover over the 3rd and 4th of September 2016.  As expected there was a good selection of layouts and traders to entertain the crowds.  I was there along with my club, the Gosport American Model Railroad Group, and we were exhibiting our modular N Scale layout ‘Solent Summit’: well about two thirds of it.  As normal what happens with these shows is my time is consumed by operating our layout, even with a team of five it takes all of us, but I was able to get around the show and see most of the layouts.

So here is a whirlwind tour.

To start we have ‘Botleigh Old North Road’.  This is a 4mm/00 Gauge layout by Ian Corps.


The layout is modeled on a fictitious engine shed on the Southern Region.


The layout is all about showing off locomotives.


Steam and diesel locos worked the yard; naturally the diesels looked a lot newer and cleaner.

andover-2016-botleigh-old-north-road-3 andover-2016-botleigh-old-north-road-4 The beautiful T9 on the right reminds me of my trip to the Dean Forest Railway Gala a few months ago.


The layout itself had a lot of detail and I’m sure I could spend hours looking at it before I found everything.


I think the Q1 on the turntable needs a good scrub!

andover-2016-botleigh-old-north-road-9 andover-2016-botleigh-old-north-road-10

Next we have the first of two O scale layouts ‘Goonhilly’ built by Steve Rogerson of the Andover Model Railway Club.


O scale is fantastic at showing detail, in the guards’ van or ‘Toad’ the crew are sitting down having a chat while the class 14 and auto coach trundle into the station.


At one end of the layout was a beautifully modeled bridge.

andover-2016-goonhilly-3 andover-2016-goonhilly-4

The first N gauge layout is ‘Barrack Way’ built by Dave & Rene Lear.  The layout is aptly names and it’s based around a large army barracks.


As with all Dave & Rene’s layouts it’s the hundreds of vehicles, people and scenes that makes them fun and this one is no exception.

andover-2016-barrack-way-2 andover-2016-barrack-way-3 andover-2016-barrack-way-4 andover-2016-barrack-way-5 andover-2016-barrack-way-6

Next we go to a layout modeling an imagery terminus next to an alpine lake in Switzerland, ‘Schwarzee’, built by Martin Axford.

andover-2016-schwarzee-1 andover-2016-schwarzee-2 andover-2016-schwarzee-3

Mike showed me pictures of the actual building he based the station on from his travels in Switzerland and he has this one spot on.

andover-2016-schwarzee-4 andover-2016-schwarzee-5

The next layout was, I think, the best in the show and it won the public choice for best in show as well.  ‘Lydgate’ built by Dave Spencer is an imaginary 4mm/00 Gauge layout based on the railways of the industrial Forest of Dean.


As I’m from the town of Lydney in the Forest Of Dean, and have been a member of the Dean Forest Railway for most of my life, this layout was a joy to see.


The attention to detail was wonderful and the depth created by the scenes transported me back to the forest.

andover-2016-lydgate-3  andover-2016-lydgate-5

andover-2016-lydgate-4 andover-2016-lydgate-6 andover-2016-lydgate-7

The second O scale layout was ‘Praa Sands’ built by Tony Collins also from the Andover Model Railway Club.

andover-2016-praa-sands-2Again O Scale is fantastic for detail and this GWR tank looks just like the real thing.


The next N Gauge layout is ‘Garsdale Head’ built by Michael Le Marie.


It is designed to have a Settle & Carlisle look (an iconic railway in the UK) and it does that well.

andover-2016-garsdale-head-2 andover-2016-garsdale-head-3 andover-2016-garsdale-head-4 andover-2016-garsdale-head-5

‘James Town’ is the next layout although it has nothing to do with me!  It belongs to Andrew & James Bernett and is a fictitious American-themed On30 layout and was lots of fun.


The layout has several loops on different levels with a variety of trains running around.  Below is a short video of one of the larger steamers passing by.  As you can see from the character in the foreground, from the movie ‘Cars’, having fun is what this layout is about.

‘Mortonhampstead’ is the next layout and is 4 mm/OO Gauge.  Built by Andy & Ryan Lamb it depicts a branch line terminus.

andover-2016-mortonhampstead-1 andover-2016-mortonhampstead-2 andover-2016-mortonhampstead-3 andover-2016-mortonhampstead-4

There were also four other layouts at the show, two I have covered in other exhibition reviews so I will simply link back to those, but it was nice to see them again.

Brighton East – 4mm/EM Gauge layout built by David Smith.

Hollow Fosse – 3mm / TT Gauge layout built by John Thomas.

‘Portsea’  –  3mm / TT Gauge layout built by Paul Hopkins & John Wakeman.  Sadly I didn’t get any photos of this great layout thinking I had already covered it in a different exhibition review; so it will have to wait until the next time I see it.

The fourth layout is ‘Croydon North Street’ built by Darren Johnson, this lovely layout will be appearing in the Poole Model Railway Exhibition on the 6th of November so I will share it with you then.

So that just leaves our layout, ‘Solent Summit’.  For this exhibition we had 23 of our scenic modules plus the two big yards and I managed to catch some shots and videos from different points.

An A+B set of Northern Pacific F7s leaving ‘Cascade Falls’ with a local freight.


A pair of Burlington Northern SD24s on the oil train.


The oil train rumbled on through town heading for ‘Solent Summit’ in the video below.

A lone Santa Fe SD45 switched ‘Dilithium Propellants’ as the big trains rolled by.


A Great Northern switcher collects paperwork from the tower at the lumber yard ready for the day’s work.


Sierra Railroad no. 38 waits with a former Northern Pacific rotary snow plow, heavy snow is forecast for tonight high on the pass.  The Union Pacific Portland Rose awaits its departure from ”Solent Summit and over the pass, hopefully before the snow starts.


The UP Portland Rose is now ready to head out from ‘Solent Summit’.


In the video below the Portland Rose crosses the ‘Warsash Wye Trestle’ just past ‘Solent Summit’. As the last of the cars clear the station limits and the heavy challenger clears the trestle the driver opens the regulator.

The UP was also handling the troop train as it passed through town.  This Big Boy made light work of this heavy train.

The BN oil train finally arrived in ‘Solent Summit’ just ahead of the Southern Pacific Daylight powered by an A-B-A lash up of Alco PAs.


A long UP freight powered by a GP35, GP7 and a pair of GP20s crosses the ‘Warsash Wye Trestle’ and runs through ‘Solent Summit’.

As well as snow, ‘Solent Summit’ must be expecting power trouble tonight because UP have supplied an old EMD DD35 to provide power for the small town.


Sierra 37 & 39 double head a freight train past ‘Watson’s Siding’.

The Santa Fe California Limited passes ‘New Mills Halt’, this train is too important to stop here and runs on west.

The Aloc PAs prepare to leave ‘Solent Summit’ with the SP Daylight jumping ahead of the BN oil train.


The Virginia Rail Express Commuter train powered by a MPI MP36PH-3C waits at ‘New Mills Halt’ for the shift change at the factory.  The factory still uses the trusty Shay to move boxcars around.


I had a great time at the Andover Modelex 2016 and I could not have done it without my club.  Thanks to the Andover Model Railway Club and to my team for putting on a great show.  From the left, Chris, myself, Bernie, Ted, Morgan & Chris.


‘Solent Summit’, well parts of it, will next be appearing at Fareham Railex on 1st and 2nd of October, the 28th to the 30th of October at the NMRA(BR) convention in Meriden, the 6th of November at the Poole And Districts Model Railway Society’s annual exhibition and the 10th and 11th of November at the Hampton Court Model Railway Societies Tolworth Show.

Maybe we will see you there.