The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know I try to post every week.  However last Monday I was rather ill so I ended up missing my post.  But never fear because I’m back and ready to post.  And this week, as promises two weeks ago, will be about the Great Central Railway Model Event which I attend as an exhibitor with our club layout, Solent Summit.

Now, although I said I attended the event it was a very busy weekend and given the size of the layout we took and the number of staff we had it was very difficult to get away and see the other things.  Plus as the Great Central Railway had exhibits at different stations along the line, not having the time for a train trip, I was unable to see any of those.  But the real trains where running right out side our marquee and I was able to dive out and get some pictures and video to share with you.

We were based at Quorn & Woodhouse Station which has an island platform between the tracks.  Throughout out each day three steam haled services, a diesel top and tailed service and a DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) ran up and down the line.  And given that it’s a double main line this made for an intensive service.

On the Friday Class 20 D8098 worked on the South end of the diesel service with Class 37 37714 on the North end.

The Class 20 was built by English Electric/Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd in Darlington in 1961.  The Class 37 was also built in 1961 by English Electric.

The Woodhouse road crossed the North end of the station and from here I was able to capture the iconic sound of the class 37, which gave them the name ‘Growlers’, as it departed heading North.

Out of the three steam engines Standard 5 No. 73156 was the smallest, although don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not a powerful locomotive. It has a BR (British Rail) power rating of 5MT (Mixed Traffic) and considering the scale only goes up to 9, that’s not bad.

This 4-6-0, built at Doncaster in 1956, had a fantastic exhaust note and I managed to run out and catch it as it pulled out of the station heading south.

As well as the big trains the DMU was also running up and down.  The train consisted of a three car set and I believe an additional fourth power car.  Sadly I didn’t see it again to get any more shots.

The second steam engine was 70013, Oliver Cromwell.

This 4-6-2 pacific class 7P (Passenger) express engine was a fantastic looking locomotive and, given that it has a main line ticket and is regally ruining main line steam specials at top speed, ran like a sewing machine.

From the other side if the line I was able to capture it coasting into the station heading North.

And again from the road bridge departing North.

The GCR does have turntables but as the line is only about 10 miles long and the locomotive are not running at speed they do the return journey in reverse.

Her is Oliver Cromwell departing the station heading South, tender first.

One the Friday night the GCR put on a special train for the exhibitors so I did get a ride and it was behind none other than Oliver Cromwell.

At the southern end of the line, Leicester North, I captured Oliver Cromwell running round its train.

On the Saturday the Class 20 was still on the diesel service but the 37 had been replaced with Class 45 D123.

This locomotive was in wonderful condition and despite the distinctive diesel growls I don’t think it needed to work very hard at all to pull its train.

The Class 45 or ‘Peak’ has been named ‘Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry’.  D123 was built at Crewe in 1961.

The last steam engine, and the one I most wanted to see was also was the most elusive however I did manage to catch it.  The huge (by British Standards) Class 9F 92214 ‘Leicester City’.  It was built at Swindon in October, 1959.

This 2-10-0 simply radiated power, not surprising as it was one of the most powerful steam locomotive types ever constructed in Britain, and I don’t think it even knew it had a train behind it.  Here it is departing the station heading South.

On its return it was adorned by a Bachmann name plate although I don’t think any on-board DCC sound decoder could sound that good!

On Sunday we had our last locomotive change for the diesel service.  The class 20 was replaced by Class 25 D5185 Named ‘Castell Dinas Bran’.  It was built at Darlington in 1963.

Here is the Class 25 and 45 departing the station heading South.

At the south end of Quorn and Woodhouse station is a turntable and parked on it out of the way for the weekend was part of the ‘Wind cutter’ mineral set.

The GCR has 36 of these wagons, 18 in service, and they are used to recreate fast main line freight trains. You can read more about the ‘Windcutter project’ here.

This also would have been a great spot to watch trains go by, if I had the time, but I did catch ‘Peak’ D123.

And of course what would a steam railway station be without a traction engine to hand.

But what about the model exhibition?  In the pictures below of Quorn and Woodhouse station you can see the huge marquees behind which housed the layouts.

The picture below was taken from one end of one of our marquee just after we packed up to give you some idea of the size of the event.

As I said before it was a busy weekend and although I did get to have a quick look around I sadly didn’t take any pictures of the other layouts, all 70 of them!

But, thanks to Paul Begg we do have lots of photos of our layout which can be found here.

He also made a great video which captured a lot of our trains including the 22′ RoadRailer train!

There are lots of great videos on YouTube covering the other layouts, one set which seems to cover most of them is listed below. (Solent Summit is in part 5).

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 1

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 2

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 3

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 4

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 5

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 6

This event was a lot of fun and it’s certainly one I would recommend going to next year.  I would like to say thanks to the Paul Begg for his photos and video, the Soar Valley Model Railway Club for organizing the exhibition and the Great Central Railway for hosting it all.  I will leave you with two more videos of Standard 5 No. 73156 and Oliver Cromwell powering out of Quorn and Woodhouse station.

Getting Ready for The Big Show

This week’s post will be nice and short.  Although I’ve been progressing with several of my current projects, as mentioned last week, this coming weekend I’ll be at the Great Central Railway’s model railway exhibition from the 15th to the 17th June 2018.

My fellow club members and I will have a large portion of our modular layout ‘Solent Summit’ on show at the Quorn station along with 70 other layouts in the exhibition.

What makes this exhibition different is it’s actually at the railway station and your entry ticket includes unlimited rides on the real trains running from Loughborough to Leicester North.

And for this weekend we are lucky to have three steam engines working the line:

BR Standard Class 7 – 70013 Oliver Cromwell (Photo by D Rawlings)

BR Standard Class 9F – 92214 Leicester City (Photo by

BR Standard 5 – 73156 which has just been returned to service. (Picture from GCR website)


Plus diesel locomotives:

BR Class 20 – D8098 (on the Friday) (Picture from GCR website)

BR Class 37 – 37714 (on the Friday) (Picture from GCR website)

BR Class 45 – Peak D123 (On the Saturday and Sunday) (Photo by Paul Biggs)

There is also one more to be announced.

This three-day exhibition is shaping up to be a great event for model trains and real ones.  For those of you who can’t make it I’ll try to do a blog post about it when I get back.  For those who are interested in coming you can find more about it here.

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.