This was the ninth annual Cotswold Model Railway Show, organised by Gloucester Model Railway Club and Eastcombe Scout and Guide Group and held at Thomas Keble School, Eastcombe, Gloucestershire, GL6 7DY.
It was also the sixth show to feature The Exhibitor’s Cup, in memory of Bert Hawkins, the Gloucester Club President who sadly passed away late in 2009. Bert was an active member of the Gloucester Club, joining in the mid 1960s. His larger than life charisma rubbed off on the entire membership from day one. He was the fulcrum of the GMRC, holding every committee position over the years. When the GMRC President, the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, passed way, Bert was made President, a position he valued and held with great honour and distinction. An excellent modeller, his layout – Kingsgate – was popular on the exhibition circuit and appeared at the 2009 Cotswold Show.
With the full support of Bert’s son Nigel, The Exhibition Committee introduced The Exhibitor’s Cup, to be voted for solely by the exhibitors, and awarded to the layout that they consider the best in show. The first winner of The Exhibitor’s Cup was Cheltenham South and Leckhampton and the second was Chris Hopper’s Pixash Lane. In 2012 the third winner of The Exhibitor’s Cup was also the first foreign image layout and the first in N gauge – A Glimpse of the Algarve by John Cannons – while in 2013 this honour went to Rich Papper’s Oxford Road. The 2014 Exhibitor’s Cup was presented to Chris Peacock’s 7mm Narrow Gauge layout Calstock’s Halton Quay.
Pat Arnold was a long standing stalwart of Gloucester MRC and the Cotswold Show and the winning layout is voted for by the visiting public to celebrate the very best of design, operation and presentation with particular attention to layouts which display the enthusiasm in modelling that Pat promoted for many years.
In 2012 Richard Hewins’ Rowington for Shrewley became the fourth annual recipient of the Pat Arnold Cup while Barnhill MRC’s Kingsfield took the honour in 2013. The sixth name to be engraved on the cup in 2014 was John Smith’s H0 gauge Torcy SNCF.
2015 proved to be a remarkable year as both Exhibitors and Pat Arnold Cups were awarded to just one remarkable layout – The End of the Line: a great way to celebrate ten years of model engineering at Eastcombe
LAYOUT AND ATTRACTION REVIEW
GRUMBLING GOODS by Malcolm Smith GMRC
G Gauge (45mm or about 1/30 scale)
The children were queuing up to play with this little slice of the Island of Sodor, presented here in the G Gauge format pioneered by LGB in 1968. The simple track plan included a tunnel, station, level crossing, locomotive and goods facilities. Also on show were some favourites from children’s film and television but sadly not internet selfie queen Karen Danczuk, thus denying me the headline “Rack and Minion Railway”.
KINGSBURY (CHANGE FOR ROGERSFIELD) by Barnhill MRC
0 Gauge (7mm scale)
Barnhill MRC’s first attempt at 0 Gauge, Kingsbury was a fictional location on the southern edge of Bristol served by a single line with a small branch platform for trains to Rogersfield, another fictional layout yet to be constructed on the Bristol Channel. The era was 1948/9 with a mixture of Great Western, Midland, and Somerset and Dorset liveries persisting among more recently painted British Railways rolling stock. Both Swansea based Thomas Pascoe and S. Brookman of Montpelier acquired wagons from Gloucester RCW, the latter’s fleet number 30 having left Bristol Road in March 1901. GWR Large Prairie 6111 meanwhile was new to Paddington shed in August 1931, was allocated to Aylesbury in 1947 and was withdrawn from Oxford in December 1965.
The layout was constructed on eight 1.5 x 1 metre and two 300mm x 500mm boards giving a total length of 13.1 metres (43′). The track was all Peco with Tortoise point motors fitted and power supplied by a hand held double Morley controller. Two fiddle yards out of public view at either end of the layout used movable cartridges to store mainly handbuilt rolling stock. Buildings were a mixture of scratch built, proprietary and kit bashed, scenery included flock powder and static grass and semaphore signalling was operational.
THE END OF THE LINE by Tim Crockford
0/014 Gauge (7mm scale)
Originally built by Giles Favell, The End of the Line represented the distribution point of a very small coal mining operation in the early 1960s. Never very busy, the output of the mine was divided between distant industry – transported away by rail – and local demand handled by road haulage. The coal from the mine was delivered to the distribution point by a 2′ narrow gauge railway.
The excellent KB scale tipper wagons had been made to operate and discharge their load into either a conveyor or direct into a waiting standard gauge mineral wagon. The narrow and standard gauge locomotives were mainly kit built but there were also some 3D printed bodied models from Shapeways and ready to run models from Ixion and Bachmann Brassmasters.
The layout had a scenic area of 5′ x 3′ with grass created by a mixture of Polak and MiniNature static fibres and DCC controlled locomotives, Tortoise point motors and the heavily modified Hornby conveyor. The moving radio-controlled lorries were converted from commercially available 1/43 scale die cast models and powered by an iPod Nano battery. The gearbox was of a type used in miniature robotics and a micro servo was used for steering. A Deltang receiver under the bonnet obeyed signals from a toy indoor helicopter controller.
FRYUPDALE BREWERY by Nigel Hawkins
EM Gauge (4mm scale)
The Brewery was originally built by Ian Manderson for the 2002 DEMU small layout competition which among other things stipulated that the entries must not exceed an area of 654 square inches and have at least one working point.
However, The Brewery was also designed for a life beyond the competition as a display arena for a variety of weathered shunters and wagon types, some of which are scratch built. The grain uploading shed and hidden sidings were linked by a space-saving traverser and the main building, loading dock and grain unloading building derived from the Walthers meat packing warehouse kit. The baseboard was built as a single unit with legs that plugged into pockets underneath. In the guise of Fryupdale Brewery, Nigel Hawkins had added a locomotive depot and additional fiddle yard to showcase a range of ex mainline and industrial locomotives including the red liveried Armstrong Whitworth 0-4-0 diesel electric seen above, black geared Sentinel and green 1888 vintage Worsdell designed Y7.
ABBOTSWOOD JUNCTION by Phil and James Bullock
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
Abbotswood Junction was a father and son collaboration representing the site just south of Worcester where the ex LMS Gloucester to Birmingham line is joined by a chord from Norton Junction on the ex GWR Worcester to Oxford line. The layout featured DDC Sound and working semaphore signals appropriate for the 1967 – 1973 end of steam to start of TOPS period. More specifically, the ready to run locomotives were super detailed and renumbered to correspond to the correct liveries for the 1971/72 working timetable and the rolling stock marshalled into historically correct trains.
The further premise was that the Stratford to Cheltenham line closed when through services closed in 1965 and so the layout at Abbotswood had to be expanded to accommodate extra traffic. An up loop with a direct connection to the Worcester chord ( only ever a kickback siding in reality ) was laid and suitably signalled before the advent of multiple aspect signalling controlled from Gloucester Horton Road power box. Unfortunately there had also recently been a derailment on the Worcester chord so all services were having to run via Bromsgrove – until phase two of the layout is built anyway! While Class 25s were a common sight on freight workings, the meeting of a Class 23 Baby Deltic hauling a brake van with a Blue Pullman diesel electric multiple unit was a rarer occurrence in Worcestershire.
BISHOPS MEAD by Ted Olney
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
Bishopsmead represented a busy station located somewhere on the Western / Central division of the LMS in the mid 1930s. In effect it was a terminus both for the main part of the branch from the main line at the fictitious Castlebury Junction and also for the trailing sub-branch to Smallcombe. Thus all trains between Castlebury and Smallcombe had to reverse at Bishopsmead – including some Great Western interlopers! In this picture, for example, a GWR van is edging into the London Midland stock tableau surrounding ex LNWR Webb 2F 0-6-2T 27558. Castlebury and Smallcombe were represented by fiddle yards and all buildings and rolling stock were either kit, modified kit or scratch built.
BISHOPS STREET YARD
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
Set somewhere in London during 1955-65, this small front or back controlled layout depicted a goods yard in a very urban setting of factories, workshops and railway arch businesses. Above the (modified Hornby viaduct) arches ran a short section of electronic shuttle fitted London Transport track leading to a maintenance depot. The trackwork was all Peco Code 100 with electro frog points while the LT section used third ( and fourth) rail chairs and Z gauge conductor rail from the same manufacturer. The red liveried clerestory car moving back and forth was 4176, which – along with 4167 – was one of two of a class of fifty 1923 vintage G Stock motor carriages built for the District Line by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited converted single electric railcars for use on the now-abandoned shuttle between South Acton and Acton Town.
The baseboard was made from 12mm ply on a 2′ x 1′ timber frame to give the necessary height to fit point motors and wiring. The back scene was made from 4mm ply and 1″x1″ stripwood. Two kitchen unit type 2′ strip lights were incorporated into a plywood unit on top of the layout to create a lighting rig with more light coming from the layout buildings. A small cassette type fiddle yard was located on one side of the layout and there was space for a Peco locomotive lift within the large factory building, adapted from the Heljan large brewery kit.
CHERINGTON by Phil Bird
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
Although there exists villages named Cherington close to Tetbury and to the north west of Hook Norton, neither had railways, although branches could have been built from the Kemble to Tetbury line or the Banbury and Cheltenham line. Thus, this layout is fictitious and is designed as the real ones would have been, if built, to be a Great Western terminus but is set in the British Railways era of the mid 1950’s to early 1960’s. Traction is provided mainly by steam locomotives of the Western Region with perhaps the occasional interloper from elsewhere and in addition some early diesels and DMU’s may be seen.
The layout is built to 4mm scale and uses SMP finescale OO track for the scenic section and Peco OO for the traverser fiddle yard. The baseboards are built from 9mm plywood and are covered in cork to form the track base. The scenery is a mixture of textures using mainly either Woodland Scenics scatter or electrostatic grass. The buildings are a mixture of plastic kits, engine shed, signal box and yard sheds. A scratch built station building, station masters house, creamery, goods shed and weighbridge. The cattle dock is the ratio kit modified to fit the location.
NEW SODBURY by Brian Drayton
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
On its website page of exhibitable layouts, the Thornbury and South Gloucestershire Model Railway Club says of its new layout, located just off the West Coast Main Line:
“The once bustling station of New Sodbury, situated on a busy main line, is now only a shadow of its former self. While the station building is being refurbished, from a dilapidated state, it has been replaced by a temporarily cabin to serve the passengers using the local services. Most of the traffic features fast passenger services that do not stop at the little wayside station. The former goods yard has been taken over by a cement company that brings in raw materials via its rail link.”
Designed to showcase trains from the 1960s to the present, New Sodbury used continental Code 82 rail with concrete sleepers more appropriate than those offered by British manufacturers. Similarly, the pointwork was continental except for Peco units in the fiddle yard and hand built examples where track geometry dictated. Point operation was by Seep or Tortoise motors although there was one Tillig installation. New Sodbury was also wired to allow either analogue or DCC operation.
The fully functional prototypically operated colour light signals were by Absolute Aspects with Eckon ground signals and automatic control was facilitated by Heathcote Electronics infra-red train sensing units mounted under the baseboards. The scenery was made from cardboard covered with plaster on wooden formers and much use was made of electro statically applied grass and foliage.
HORSE CREEK by Peter J. Everitt
H0 Gauge (3.5 mm scale)
Around the year 1957 Horse Creek was a small settlement in southern Wyoming, the Horse Creek itself being an intermittent river taking melt water from the Rocky Mountains to join the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement is also on the main line of the Colorado and Southern Railway, where steam operation is giving way to first generation F3 and F7 cab unit diesels as well as smaller SD 7 and 9 road switchers although for space reasons the layout of Horse Creek is a terminus. However, Horse Creek – made from 6mm plywood supporting a styrofoam and plaster shell landscape – can also operate in through station mode with other standard NMRA modules.
THREE ACRES by Phil Bird
14.2mm Gauge (3 mm scale)
Three Acres was the Cotswold Model Railway Exhibition’s 2015 layout under construction and was being built to the lesser known scale of 3mm to the foot. This was originally promoted by Triang more than 50 years ago as a smaller alternative to 00 (4mm to the foot). However, what Triang marketed as TT (Table Top) was built around a gauge of 12mm rather than the correct scale spacing of 14.2mm. By the late 1960s TT was supplanted by the more commercially successful N gauge (2 mm to the foot) and Triang production stopped, ultimately leading to the formation of the 3mm Society and a number of cottage-industry type traders.
Three Acres was modelled on the layout of Dymock in the Forest of Dean after the line from Gloucester to Newent was truncated there. Some modification of the track plan was needed for space reasons and the hand built track was being laid on cork on plywood baseboards. As Dymock in the 1960s was operated on a “one engine in steam” basis analogue rather than DCC will be used and couplings will be of the B&B type which can be remotely uncoupled using electromagnets under the track.
CHURCH HISLOP by Alan Drewett
N Gauge (2 mm scale)
This Jet Age Museum outreach layout was inspired by the Derwent Valley Light Railway at its zenith in 1962, linking York with Cliff Common but with more frequent traffic. It featured part of an airfield, a National Trust visitor centre with car and coach park, farm land, and an oil depot. A sequence of four freight trains passed each other in the loop by the oil depot, both diesel and steam hauled. The Blackburn Berverley aircraft served in RAF Transport Command from 1956 to 1967. The diorama measured 5ft 4 in x 2 ft.
SMALL TOWN by Kit Spackman
N Gauge (2 mm scale)
Built to the 1/160 scale Continental version of N gauge – as opposed to Church Hislop’s British 1/148 – Small Town was back in operation after 25 years in storage with a glimpse of railroading in the mid west of America during the 1960s and 70s. The tracks – and many trains – through Small Town belonged to the Pinetree and Western Railroad Corporation although many other railroads had running powers. The track work was Peco Code 80 and unseen route selection was by large sector plate with spur lines to hold locomotives. Train movements were actuated by DC analogue cab control with radio controlled shunting and marshalling with Kaydee couplings.
Also represented at Thomas Keble School were Julie West: Railway Artist, the Cotswold Canal Trust, The Festiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, Vale of Berkeley Railway and demonstrations of modelling skills by Ken Haines of Gloucester Model Railway Club and members of Diesel and Electric Modellers United.
Traders included Brian’s Trains, Stewart Blencowe Books, Modelmania of Bristol, Olive Turner and Penduke Models.