Tag Archives: Festival

Visit to: Swindon Railway Festival , September 2016

Today I am going to take you on a retrospective adventure to the Swindon Railway Festival, which I visited on the 11th September at Swindon’s STEAM – Museum of The Great Western Railway.

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I had just returned from a trip to somewhere or other (as I often do) and I was not sure I had the energy to go to the event, but in the end I’m really glad I made the effort.

With Swindon’s ongoing celebrations as part of Swindon 175 there was a strong emphasis on GWR heritage across the full breadth of the GWRs history, including South Wales coal lines, Cornish branch lines and, of course, the surrounds of Swindon itself.

Stand out layouts at the show included Porth St John; a beautiful depiction of Cornwall in the 1930s. I loved the representation of the mudflats beneath the elaborate blue bridge and the fishing nets.

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Photo by Sumita Majumdar

Ynysbwl Fach was also fun to watch and a rarely modelled example of a private coal yard. I think it is maybe the first exhibition layout I have seen that is based on a South Wales colliery. I was even treated to a pronunciation demonstration of the layout’s name (I was close with my first attempt, but didn’t quite get it).

Swindon Model Railway Club’s Fisherbridge was also in attendance with its new collection of 1980s N Gauge rolling stock.

Here is a video from the day:

Visit to: The National Festival of Railway Modelling, Peterborough

Last weekend I visited a model exhibition I have been wanting to go to for years: The National Festival of Railway Modelling in Peterborough.

Finding myself with a weekend with ‘no plans’ I thought I would take the long drive from Swindon (not actually as long as I thought) and take a look.

The first layout I looked at was the N-Gauge ‘Grange-Over-Sands’, with its well represented saltmarsh habitat spanning the front of the layout. I spend a lot of time in my day job studying saltmarsh habitat, so I paid special attention to the little creeks and different patches of vegetation.

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I think ‘Oulton TMD’ (OO-Gauge) was one of my favourite models at the exhibition. It was such a large model and I liked how it was a busy layout, but didn’t look cluttered. I could have spent much longer looking at that one.

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‘Ludlow’ was probably my favourite layout of the show. An N-gauge layout with plenty of sprawling landscape and an assortment of traffic running through the valley on the main line. I really liked the track plan of this layout and it has given me some ideas for a future N-gauge project.

‘Up The Line’ was a very interesting WWI layout built in 16mm narrow gauge. The sound of the distant thump of bombs added to the ambience of this model. I particularly liked the ambulance train (ambience and an ambulance in so many words).

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Another N-gauge model I really liked was ‘Barton Road’ set around London somewhere in the late 60s and included plenty of west country stock (my favourite). It is built in a fascinating ‘T’ shaped arrangement with the off scene fiddle yard placed in the centre of the ‘T’. This allows trains to run off scene at two ends of the ‘T’ and then stock cassettes are swapped to each off-scene area. I really like the arrangement, but, for me, it might need a bit too much concentration to control at a show.

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I also have to mention the BRM Magazine project layout Ruston Quays, what a lovely little model. It shows how much you can do with limited space.

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I got the chance to see a couple of DJM models that had passed me by in my months away from modelling. I saw the Class 71 and would like to keep telling myself I don’t need one in my life, but it looked and sounded great. I also saw the new J94 Austerity which also looks like a brilliant model. There is a nice yellow NCB one that was previously an RMweb exclusive and is now being sold by Kernow (it would look great with a bit of weathering).

So all in all, an enjoyable show. It seemed that every time I filmed a train it cast a curse on the tracks and things would crash or stall, but with a bit of editing I managed to get a decent film out of my footage. Here it is:

Swindon Railway Festival (2013)

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I visited the Swindon Railway Festival on Sunday 15th September, and what an enjoyable show it was.

The cost at the door paid for both entry into the STEAM Museum (which tells the story of the Great Western Railway) and the model show. The museum is built into some of the former Swindon Works buildings, which is a simply wonderful venue for a model railway show.

The quality of modelling on display was quite amazing. I really liked Carsmoores Scrapyard, I was impressed by the small size of the layout and the detail and lighting. The owner of the layout even gave me some nifty tips on building landscaping from foam board and DAS clay.

Another favourite model of mine was Tucking Mill, which was a highly detailed 2mm layout. The level of detailing on 2mm layouts has increased so much in the past few years that I start to wonder why I don’t take the leap. Tucking Mill has some lovely subtle landscaping in place and some nice motive power. I particularly liked their point-changing levers, which activate a slow turning servo which changes the point-work.

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Hornby’s stand included early versions of their upcoming P2, which was looking beautiful. I am really pleased to see that it has separate fitted hand rails, after all this ‘design clever’ nonsense. I also spotted a plastic seam near the front of the boiler, which I hope is an indication of future models with stream lined fronts! Hornby’s Sentinel diesel shunter is also looking impressive.

I also had an enjoyable discussion with a chap from the broad gauge society and discovered that there are some models I can build in that gauge. Maybe one day.

All in all, it was a great day out. Below is my video from the show:

Visit to the Doncaster Model Railway Show (2013)

Two weeks ago me and my Dad visited the Festival of British Railway Modelling in Doncaster.

It was our first visit and we both really enjoyed the day. The best thing about the show was the number of big layouts (in a UK context), which allowed some good length trains to be run.

Wisbech and Upwell Trams

My interests in the Wisbech and Upwell Railway were well catered for with some interesting discussions about how to model the tramway version of the Drewry tram (see separate post). The highlight for me was the Y10 ‘super sentinel’ shunting around Happisburgh Goods. This was an odd coincidence as I recently begun development of this loco using a 3D modelling programme, thus I took the opportunity to take pictures from all angles (the pictures of the top being a God-send).

O-gauge Y10 'Super Sentinel' on Happisburgh Goods

O-gauge Y10 ‘Super Sentinel’ on Happisburgh Goods

Grasslands

I was also interested in the disturbed grassland and ephemeral vegetation modelled on Kensal Green (sorry… went all ‘ecologist’ there). Their grassland just seem to have something that my current efforts don’t seem to have. I think it is do with the thicker layer of decayed vegetation beneath the current growing stems (closer to the buildings). I think I will experiment and see if I can improve mine.

Disturbed and ephemeral grassland on the 4mm Kensal Green

Disturbed and ephemeral grassland on the 4mm Kensal Green

Black Country Blues was also looking impressive with some great modelling of recently disturbed vegetation, very much the colours, structures and ‘feel’ of the surrounds of home ‘back when’ (Me and Dad thought we recognised the view from Barr Beacon).

Purchases

I was in a wallet-burning mood and was quite set on buying a D11 Director, which I managed to acquire from one of the cheaper vendors.

D11 Director from Bachmann

D11 Director from Bachmann

Unfortunately for said wallet, I then came across another subject I am interested in: a T9 in Southern Green with ‘British Railways’ on the tender. Opening the box I was quite surprised to find a colonial star on the front (apparently this was the designate royal train). This wasn’t evidently clear from the box and it would be nice if Hornby considered expanding beyond the traditional ‘side profile’ photos on their model-boxes. I also find them not the most flattering images, but that’s me. The colonial star didn’t of course amount to the surprise of finding an elephant on the side of my Heljan BR Blue Falcon when I bought it a couple of years ago!

Hornby's Royal T9

Hornby’s Royal T9

Video

Below is my video from the show, hope you like it: