The Cotswold Model Railway Exhibition 2016 was the eleventh 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 eighth 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. And in 2016, both cups once again were awarded to one layout – the splendid N Gauge Brimscombe. Lovingly built by Shirehampton MRC, Brimscombe was also displayed as near as it probably ever will be to the site of the actual Brimscombe station – just down the valley from 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 Lehr Gross Bahn 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, television and even computer games – the latter genre having thrown up wholesome Italian plumbing hero Super Mario and his relentless quest to save Princess Daisy. It may be some years before the Grand Theft Auto franchise gets a look in, but in the meantime Grumbling Goods has proved a popular conversation piece among local care home residents.
In this particular image the late Reverend Wilbert Vere Awdry’s Toby The Tram Engine is joined by fellow Railway Series character Sir Topham Hatt (aka The Fat Controller in the days before political correctness was imported) and Aardman Animation film characters Gromit (this time without Wallace) and Shawn The Sheep. Aardman Animation has some strong railway connections, not least Gromit’s tracklaying in “The Wrong Trousers” and the fact that it is based in the junction City of Bristol. Founder Nick Park, on whom Gromit is partly based, meanwhile hails from Preston: another important railway junction which, like Bristol was once famous for locomotive building.
EIGH BAY HALT by Mr C. Heard
0 Gauge (7mm scale)
Mr C. Heard’s 0 Gauge Eigh Bay Halt, was so named as it was purchased through an internet auction site ( I love it when a pun comes together!) Originally depicting a GWR China Clay branch, Eigh Bay Halt – now based in Essex – had evolved into a Midland Railway micro branch at the start of the “War to End all Wars”. A young man was enjoying a last picnic with his sweetheart ( gull permitting, nothing changes!) ambulance orderlies were in training and the First Battalion Kelbrooke Light Infantry made ready to embark at the halt. While Gloucester RCW private owner coal wagons were to the fore, motive power included 0-4-0Ts “Eileen” and “Mary” as well as Samuel Waite Johnson’s Midland Railway Classes 1823 (0-4-4T) and 2441 (0-6-0T), the latter ominously numbered 1914.
ELMSCROFT YARD (TERMINUS) by Gloucester MRC
0 Gauge (7mm scale)
Elmscroft Yard (Terminus) was displayed as a work in progress but in fact represented the total recovery, redesign and rebuilding of a layout first built some 25 years ago. This had been left languishing and forgotten in a corner of the Gloucester MRC club house. Four of Gloucester Model Railway Club’s members ( three basically new to railway modelling) were thus encouraged to have a go at producing a 7mm working railway of their own concept. When finished it will be known as Elmscroft Terminus. The layout represented a fictional branch terminus and significant warehousing facility set within an urban conurbation. The main rail connection ran 4 miles to the south where connection was made to the national network. There lay the main city station, engine sheds, coaling and maintenance facilities and extensive carriage and wagon sidings. The principle revenues of the line were generated by regular commuter passenger services from this affluent suburb into the main conurbation and provision of a busy goods connection to the very significant business of the Turner Nott (Warehousing and Distribution) Company. The station terminus, warehousing complex and back scene was deliberately styled in the 1900-1970 period and “neutral” of any specific railway company’s livery or buildings to allow any stock current within this time scale from anywhere on the national rail network to be worked on the layout without historical challenge.
PRIVATE OWNER WAGONS DISPLAY by Mr I Pope
0 Gauge (7mm scale)
At Eastcombe I was particularly pleased to meet one of my heroes, Ian Pope. On this occasion the renowned author of many Lightmoor Press and other books on private owner open coal wagons ( many of which were built by The Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited) presented his diorama representing the empty wagon sidings and screens structure of a hypothetical colliery “somewhere in the Forest of Dean” The aim of this was to be able to display a large number of the private owner open coal wagons that worked in the area. In this picture specifically there are wagons belonging to Morgan of Cinderford and F.J. Holpin of Berkeley Road, the seven planker accessing the Forest of Dean after 1879 by means of the Severn Railway Bridge.
ALKERTON ROAD by Mr M Browne
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
One of my neighbours in Mr Dunn’s Maths classroom was Mr M. Browne’s Alkerton Road. Set in a fictional rural location between Bristol and Birmingham, Alkerton Road let a constant procession of 00 gauge trains from a nine road fiddle yard do the talking, although the station did feature a passenger / parcels bay platform with a small engine maintenance shed left over from bygone days. The station also featured kit bashed and scratch built structures and eras could be switched between steam and diesel.
I particularly liked this picture as it reflected two N gauge trains that I was running just a few feet away on Runport St Nicola: namely a Bombardier Voyager ( albeit in Virgin rather than Arriva Trains Cross Country livery ) and a First Great Western “dynamic lines” liveried InterCity 125 High Speed Train. This is now being somewhat overtaken by the latest First Great Western “GWR” on dark bronze green branding but while it was new co-ordinated well with other First Group train liveries such as Trans Pennine Express. It was, in my humble opinion, also an improvement on the earlier green, gold and ivory stripe Great Western Trains markings which tended to make the IC125 power cars look a bit like cigarette packets!
Another recent First Great Western livery development has been power car 43002 “Sir Kenneth Grange” repainted into original 1976 British Rail livery teamed with 43185 “Great Western” in 1980s style Inter City Swallow markings. Although looking a little odd at each end of a rake of blue Mark III carriages, I think this is a fitting homage on the part of First Great Western to the unstinting work that IC125 sets have done for Brunel’s railway west of Paddington – not to mention the East Coast and Midland Main lines and Plymouth-Newcastle services – for the past four decades.
As the World’s fastest diesel train, the InterCity 125 set turned round the fortunes of passenger travel on British Rail in the 1970s and laid the foundations for the Bombardier Voyager and Super Voyager sets of the 21st Century. Like the Japanese Shinkansen of a decade earlier, the Western Region High Speed Train service relied on unit trains all travelling at the same high speed – albeit having to share Brunel’s Billiard Table and the lines west of Swindon with slower local trains and freight. Despite not having their own dedicated route however, the “Journey Shrinker” IC125s soon captured the imagination of the travelling public with the smooth ride of the Mark III carriages and the powerful 2 750 bhp Paxman Valenta engines being installed in each power car. I also remember the cheeseburgers microwaved to order aboard the Trailer Restaurant Unclassified Buffet, much more satisfying on a long journey than the cold trolley mounted fare available on Voyagers!
CHELTENHAM SOUTH AND LECKHAMPTON by Gloucester MRC
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
Leckhampton station was opened in 1881 as part of the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway with a single track and was the last stop before the Great Western worked B&CDR joined the Midland Railway’s Birmingham to Bristol line at Hatherley Curve Junction just south of Cheltenham.
In 1891 the Midland and South Western Junction Railway obtained running rights from Andoversford to Cheltenham while the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway was absorbed by the Great Western Railway on 1 July 1897.
The track through Leckhampton was doubled in 1900 and in 1906 the platforms were extended and the name was changed to Cheltenham South and Leckhampton. The reason for these developments was the introduction of a Cardiff-Newcastle express which did not stop at any other Cheltenham stations
It is in this period of pre and post Grouping GWR and post 1948 BR ownership that the Gloucester Model Railway Club finescale layout was set, capturing the essence of the station with only a small amount of compression to fit available space. The Club also ran more than the five trains a day which called at the real Cheltenham South and Leckhampton station.
The name of the station contracted to Cheltenham Leckhampton in 1952 although the buildings changed little before closure on 15 October 1962 as the Midland & South Western Junction Railway route had closed a year before.
The site of the station is now occupied by Leckhampton Place, a residential development, and Liddington Park Industrial Estate; both accessed via Old Station Drive although the bridges at each end still exist. The Midland and South Western Junction Railway was absorbed by the Great Western in 1923 and its locomotives were renumbered into GWR stock.
Seeing the S.J. Morelands wagon in the train reminds me that Samuel John Moreland began making matches in Bristol Road, Gloucester, in 1867. His factory was opposite the then seven year old Gloucester Wagon Company and his Lucifer and Vesta safety matches used new and safer methods of production than earlier manufacturers. Employees numbers rose from 450 in 1897 to 640 in 1907 with continuous automatic match making machinery being installed in 1912. This reduced employee numbers to 350 by 1919, by which time SJ Morelands had become a division of Bryant and May. Match production ceased in Gloucester in 1976, after which the famous England’s Glory brand ( featuring the pioneering battleship HMS Devastation ) was transferred to Swedish Match of Uppsala, at the time a subsidiary of Volvo.
NORTHBRIDGE by Mr M Kelly
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
Mike Kelly’s 00 gauge Northbridge was based on North Bridge, an area north-west of Leicester city centre. For the model it was assumed that the Leicester & Swannington Railway terminated here instead of at West Bridge. The period modelled was early 1960’s and whilst none of the infrastructure was a copy of anything that existed then, it did try to give an impression of that area as it might have been.
For operating purposes, the passenger service did not cease in 1928 and in addition to trains from Coalville a service from Leicester London Road was invented to provide extra traffic. The goods yard at West Bridge was in reality very much larger and even in the mid 1960’s was still quite busy with coal, oil and other goods. On the model this was represented by a daily coal train and a twice daily goods train which has much traffic from the local mail order warehouse.
The trackwork was Peco 100 using small radius electrofrog points electrically operated.
Rolling stock was a mixture of proprietary products some modified most weathered and indicative of that used in the area had the bore of Glenfield Tunnel been a little more generous. Many of the buildings were Metcalfe, all altered in some way to fit the location. Most of the business names were of those that existed in the North Bridge area.
The overall size of the layout is 2060mm by 430mm; it was completely self contained and at home can sit on coffee table legs and folds in two to form a box 350mm deep. It was an exercise to see how much can be achieved in a small space.
VOPAK TERMINAL by Mr P Rolley
00 Gauge (4mm scale)
I was honoured to be next to Mr P. Rolley’s 00 gauge Vopak Terminal, sporting a much more complex and extensive industrial plant than that witnessed by Runport St Nicola! Based on the real terminal at Barry Docks, South Wales – about two miles from Dai Woodham’s scrapyard, the layout showed chemical tankers and box containers arriving from the Continent via Cadoxton to Vopak where sand is processed into silicon for microprocessors. In particular I admired the extensive and complex “plumbing” of the Vopak works, much of it being created from actual plumbing components available in leading DIY superstores. Elements of this can be seen in the picture to the left along with a General Motors designed Canadian built English, Welsh and Scottish Railways owned Class 66 diesel electric locomotive passing between an Oxford Diecast Ford Transit Connect in Network Rail colours on one side of the ungated level crossing – next to some vertically integrated Portakabins – and one of the Swnsea based model manufacturer’s Eddie Stobart articulated lorries on the other. Framing the scene was a highly evocative backdrop of terraced houses on inclined streets.
COLEFORD by Mr J. Wilkes
009 Gauge (4mm scale)
History is full of “What Ifs” and on this 4mm to the foot / 009 layout Mr J. Wilkes has supposed that the real life 3’6″ gauge Coleford to Monmouth plateway carrying coal, clay and lime to the River Wye had evolved into a 2′ gauge edge railway serving a quarry, gold processing and a chocolate factory. 009 track featured both stone chairs and longitudinal sleepers on Coleford while the rtr, kit and scratchbuilt traction and rolling stock operated among the bare trees of winter. The actual horse drawn Monmouth Tramway opened in 1812 and for 47 years was Monmouth’s only rail link. Originally it was to have been the centrepiece of a much more extensive network of L- section railed plateways and the establishing Act of Parliament was notable for its specific mention of passenger traffic. It is said that this was the first railway of any kind to suggest in its Act that it would make money by carrying passengers. As it was however, there were numerous public complaints about “the abominable tram way”, which finally closed in the 1870s.
HEYBRIDGE WHARF by Mr M Corp
TT Gauge (3mm scale)
Mr M Corp’s delightful contribution to the 2016 Cotswold Model Railway Show was Heyridge Wharf, a front-control layout built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 3mm Society in 2015. In a scenic section measuring 50 inches long by 50 cm wide, 14.2mm finescale track was used to depict a fictitious port in Suffolk linked to the Great Eastern main line via the Hey Light Railway. Beyond Heybridge Wharf was a tramway section to the town of Heybridge. The layout was built of plywood with 3mm Society track and 32MR points operated by Hoffman point motors. Rolling stock was by Finney and Smith, Worsley Works and the 3mm Society. Buildings were scratch built or super detailed Bilteezi card kits. In 1952, as a result of R.A. Riddles’ policy of favouring diesel power for shunting locomotives, the first orders were placed with the Drewry Car Co. and Vulcan Foundry to meet the need for small but versatile locomotives, able to operate on light lines such as tramways, docks and private sidings, where the bigger 350 h.p. diesel-electrics were prohibited. The various batches built incorporated detail differences, the most noticeable being on the first four, (11100 – 11103, seen here), for use on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway, which had side-valances and cowcatchers fitted.
BAYNARDS by Forest of Dean MRC
N Gauge (2mm scale)
Like my own layout – Runport St Nicola – this was in British N gauge and depicted Southern England at some time between 1940 and 1970. The station format and surroundings were closely modelled on the real Baynards on the now-closed direct line between Guildford and Horsham. In the featured image, an 0-6-0ST with a mixed pick-up goods train typical of the 1940s is awaiting the arrival of a local passenger working powered by one of Oliver Vaughan Snell’s original air-smoother Merchant Navy Pacifics.
Originally designated as mixed traffic locomotives when introduced in 1941 to circumvent the Government prohibition on building new express passenger locomotives during the Second World War, the “spam cans” had faired-over boilers not so much for speed as for the ability to use the same automatic washing plant as the carriages whose curves they were built to match. Their mechanical design showed similar forward thinking, with a steam turbine and dynamo set providing electricity for cab lighting and a higher than usual boiler pressure of 280 pounds per square inch allied to a piston valve chain drive contained in an oil bath.
Unfortunately this arrangement often caught fire and in the 1950s many members of both the Merchant Navy and Bulleid’s smaller West Country and Battle of Britain Pacifics were extensively rebuilt by British Railways Southern Region. They were returned to traffic with more conventional Walschaerts valve gear working with superheated steam supplied from boilers working at a pressure of 250 pounds per square inch.
After the 1955 Modernisation Plan however, standard gauge steam on British Railways was to be increasingly supplanted by diesel and electric traction. On the Southern Region especially, steam had been under threat from Nationalisation in 1948 with the growth of third rail 350 volt direct current electrification which reached north Kent in 1959. In addition, Bulleid had himself been experimenting with 1Co-Co1 wheel arrangement diesel electric locomotives as well as electro diesel and pure electric locomotives. As a result, Bulleid’s pacific classes would finally bow out of service in 1967, although not before the former London and South Western Railway route from Waterloo via Salisbury to Bournemouth had become Britain’s last all-steam- worked main line.
A number of Battle of Britain, West Country and Merchant Navy pacifics have been preserved in both air-smoother and rebuilt forms with Merchant Navy “Ellerman Lines” forming a sectioned exhibit at the National Railway Museum in York and 35006 “Peninsular and Oriental Lines” returning to steam on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in 2016.
BRIMSCOMBE by Shirehampton MRC
N Gauge (2mm scale)
Brimscombe station was located on the former Great Western Railway line between Gloucester and Swindon, deep in the Frome river valley to the east of Stroud. The layout included the station area and part of the long climb up the valley out of the village towards Chalford and Sapperton Bank. Brimscombe was 24 feet long by 3 feet wide, and track work was Peco code 55 finescale on the viewing side and code 80 in the fiddle yard. Electrical control was conventional DC cab control but could be switched to DCC operation if needed. Most of the buildings had been scratch built. Trains could operate using a timetable, and one of the highlights was looking out for heavy freight trains on the long climb south east out of Brimscombe towards St Marys Crossing.
Of particular interest in this picture are the Brush Type 2 ( later British Rail Class 31) diesel electric locomotive at the head of a long rake of Presflo cement wagons and a Swindon built Class 14 diesel hydraulic on a shorter more varied train behind it.
CHIPBURY by Barnhill MRC
N Gauge (2mm scale)
The third of the N gauge layout quartet at Eastcombe was Barnhill MRC’s Chipbury, a fictional Devon town with a terminus set in the Seventies and Eighties. Blue Class 37,47 and 50 diesel electrics along with HSTs and DMUs worked trains to Exeter, Bristol and England’s south coast from one of four platforms while the club’s first N gauge layout also featured a small goods yard, locomotive depot and Kestrel, Peco and DPM kits. SEEP point motors worked on large and medium radius Peco track via ECM controllers. As the show coincided with America’s presidential elections I paid considerable attention to the large bridge. Unlike Teddy Kennedy…
On a less satirical note, the fine, elegant structure in the photograph crossing a road at the bottom of a wooded valley combined a central bowstring section with outer portions built Bailey Bridge style out of triangulated girders. The bowstring uses the mechanical strength of a curve and one particularly impressive example replaced a lifting bridge over the River Mersey at Runcorn in Cheshire – the setting for my own layout Runport St Nicola. This name combined the towns of Runcorn and Stockport, the latter being the source of the River Mersey. Both towns are also liked by members of the sadly now defunct pop group Girls Aloud: Sarah Harding calling Stockport her adopted home while Runcorn was the domicile of Stamford, Lincolnshire born Nicola Roberts The bowstring principle can also be seen in the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash near Plymouth, carrying the Great Western Railway over the River Tamar into Cornwall..
RUNPORT ST NICOLA by Alan Drewett
N Gauge (2mm scale)
Before the Manchester Ship Canal could be completed in 1894 the (fictional) aristocratic owner of the salt marshes between Ince and the River Mersey insisted on an aqueduct under, rather than a swing bridge over, the canal to be built to offer “free and unfettered” access between them and his oil refinery and model town of Runport St Nicola. A Midland Railway branch from there to Helsby then linked Runport St Nicola and its refinery with docks on the marshes. When the docks fell out of use in the 1990s they were filled in and the site became a regional airport for Liverpool and Cheshire – often used for diversionary landings from North America, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The variety of visible trains at the start of the 21st Century reflects this, and on the occasion of the 2016 show at Eastcombe I was indebted to my friend and colleague Colin Green for the loan of two of his Deltics to power and enthusiast’s special. In this picture Deltic D9002 “The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry” is seen next to the We3 refinery at Runport St Nicola across the platform from Virgin Train West Coast’s “Pretendolino” set of Mark III carriages hauled by a “Thunderbird” Class 57. At the bottom of the picture, laying over from airport duties, is a similarly liveried VTWC Voyager diesel electric multiple unit.
Presented in parallel with Runport St Nicola was a set of display boards and 4mm scale First World War themed diorama representing the new Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Museum. Only founded on 25 March 2016, its aim is to preserve the history of Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company and all its business associates. In this instance, the gun limbers built by Gloucester RCW for the Royal Horse Artillery, as modelled by Airfix, were displayed in the context of the first global technological conflict along with tanks and aircraft.
Also adding to the thrill of the 2016 Cotswold Model Railway Show was the presence of The Vale of Berkeley Railway, Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway, Cotswold Canal Trust, Diesel and Electric Modellers United, Julie West – Railway Artist, the Second Hand Stall of Olive Turner, the Gloucester MRC Second Hand Stall, traders Brian’s Trains, Modelmania of Bristol, Penduke Models and Stewart Blencowe.