Held at Hucclecote Methodist Church GL3 3QP (on the route of Stagecoach bus 10) between 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday 20 June 2015, this was the fifth of the current series of Gloucester Model Railway Exhibitions. It featured eleven working layouts in gauges N to 1/32 scale and trade support from Keith’s Bits and Pieces and Robert Fowler Locomotive Builder and Trader in Quality Stock (N to O).
Entry prices was £3 adult, £2.00 concessions and £1.50 children.
The range of exhibits appealed to both keen modellers and local families. It was a charitable show and proceeds were divided between the church and a mental health charity. Previous shows have been enjoyed by all, not least for the excellent buffet.
The poster picture for 2015 was taken in April 1961 during a snow storm on the Midland main line near Millers Dale. An endearing feature of the very first diesel multiple units was the glass partition behind the driver’s compartment and the silhouetted cap here helps to frame the junction to Buxton. The train had connected with an express from St Pancras to Manchester Central which included an LMS 12-wheel dining car. These lovely lines through the Peak District closed under the Beeching axe.
Dublin, Belfast and Cork all have suburbs called Blackrock and this layout featured steam and electric trams from all three cities plus other, less well-known lines. The scenery could be anywhere in Ireland, set around 1900 (give or take 20 years). Some scenic items were ʻauthenticʼ, the remainder were to give an ʻIrish atmosphereʼ.
Electric pick-up was through the wheels – the overhead line being a dummy. The trams – made of brass with Slaterʼs wheels and coreless motors – were scratch-built, modelled from scale plans and many, many photos: each taking some 3 to 15 months to construct. Layout dimensions were 15 ft x 2 ft.
In particular I liked Works Car 24, essentially being a five plank open wagon with a driving cab cantilevering out from each end and held together with a longitudinal bar supporting the trolley pole. It is pictured above between a service passenger tram and a nun praying at a shrine to the Virgin Mary.
Also of interest was “Brian Boroimhe” – one of four steam tram locomotives ordered from Wilkinsons of Wigan by the 3′ gauge Giant’s Causeway Tramway in Northern Ireland operated by the Giant’s Causeway, Portrush and Bush Valley Railway and Tramway Company Limited. This, the first long electric tramway in the World, was promoted by William Atcheson Traill and his brother Dr Anthony Traill after William had seen the first Siemens railway electrification system demonstrated at the Berlin Trade Fair of 1879. Although the first section of the 9 1/4 mile line opened on 29 January 1883, legal issues over water rights for the tramway’s pioneering hydro electric power station meant that steam tram engines hauled some services and would continue to be available until 1926. Electrification with a raised third rail reached Giant’s Causeway in 1887 although after a cyclist died after touching this in 1895 the tramway was converted to an overhead wire system in 1899. Unfortunately, the Giant’s Causeway Tramway lost most of its lucrative mineral traffic after 1900 and the last passenger trams stopped in 1946. Since 2002 however, steam locomotive hauled trains of the Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills Railway have operated over a two mile section of the former Tramway.
O – OO – N gauges
This diorama showed different ways of filling locomotive bunkers with coal. Centre-piece was a great concrete ‘Centotaph’ tower with an electric wagon hoist and balance weights at the front. This was modelled in O gauge with an LNER 0-6-2 class N1 tank which ran to a shed with a flat water tank on its roof.
In front was a ramped coaling stage in OO gauge with a small tank engine. A class WD 2-8-0 ran from here across the ashing pit to a manual coaling stage with crane. There were samples of G, Z and T gauge track on the right and photographs of real coaling facilities on the backscene. The outside loop had an N gauge coal train headed by a GWR pannier tank. A surreal touch was provided by a Rhine coal barge and swimmers who climbed the Cenotaph to a roof-top lido. Visitors were allowed yo operate the locomotives. Dimensions were 5 ft 4 in x 1 ft 8 in.
FRYUPDALE by Nigel Hawkins EM Gauge 4mm Scale
Fryupdale actually exists in North Yorkshire but never had a railway despite being near Danby on the Grosmont to Middlesborough line. On this North Eastern branch line however the structures and buildings were based on real prototypes including a signalbox with detailed interior. Waiting for the starting signal left meanwhile was 2219 New Fly, one of a class of 100 bhp six cylinder Sentinel steam railcars operated by the London & North Eastern Railway.
ABERCYNON FACH by Brian Tucker OO Gauge 4mm Scale
When Brian Tucker was a lad of about seven in 1962, his father used to take him to work delivering petrol to garages in the Welsh valleys. One forecourt was above Abercynon shed (88E) and this 48″ x 16″ DCC sound layout with 75 SMP track offered a flavour of his memories during 1957 to 1967 with ex Great Western and British Standard tank engines working alongside diesel classes 37, 14 and 08.
Among the locomotives seen in this picture is now-preserved GWR Small Prairie tank 4566
Budemoor was a fictitious junction on the borders of North Devon and Cornwall, just off the Exeter / Okehampton / Plymouth line to Bude and Bude Harbour, busy with the export of stone, slate and minerals and the import of high quality Welsh coal for the static steam engines of the Cornish mines. Steep gradients meant that many branch lines had weight restrictions requiring two manned brake vans for trains of more than ten goods wagons. Locomotives and rolling stock were visible from all over the Southern Railway and its pre Grouping constituents in an era before Nationalisation and the closures that created the Southern Region’s “Withered Arm” in the far west.
ROKER BRIDGE by Mike Briggs and Nick Barnett
00 Gauge 4mm Scale
Roker Bridge ( from the TV drama “All Quiet on the Preston Front” ) was fictitiously situated on the single track line to Fleetwood just outside Preston. The Beeching era saw the track plan rationalised to cope with commuter traffic whilst the goods avoiding line has now become a long siding from Preston that now remains to serve the privately owned wagon works which always seems busy. The old goods line to Fleetwood South via the Roker tunnel has now been taken over in part by the Diesel Shunter Preservation Society, the chairman of which coincidentally owns the wagon works who thereby make copious use of the preserved shunters.
The time period is early 1970s so DMUs operate the commuter service. This part of the layout was automatic whilst the traffic to the wagon works is operator controlled: effectively 2 layouts in 1 in a space of 9 ‘ by 1’. In the picture above ex LNER Y1 Class 0-4-0T 68150 frames Cravens of Sheffield built Class 129 diesel parcels unit M55998, which could be coupled to classmates M55997 and M55999 via the Yellow Diamond system. Below, the same four wheeled Sentinel joins other preserved shunting engines above Roker Bridge’s impressive collection of exhibition plaques.
SCHMAL by Gary Ball
00/Ho Gauge 4mm / 3.5mm Scale
This layout featured two tracks running full length. The trains stopped at each end for about 20 seconds before returning, thus ensuring constant movement. The stock comprised unusual British and Continental railcars that ran between 1900 and 1962. There were both steam and diesel locos, some of which had been scratchbuilt in brass. A road ran alongside the track in places with period cars and commercial vehicles. Buildings and scenery provided an interesting focal point. In this picture a 1959 vintage Renault built panoramic autorail – with passenger seats next to the driver – formed a colourful backdrop to AEC/Park Royal Great Western railcar 2 and, in front, parcels railcar 34, built with the more angular styling of Swindon Works in 1940.
TROUBLESOME TRUCKS by Alan Postlethwaite
00 Gauge 4mm Scale
This was a fun railway for children to operate. It was a simple circuit of a double loop with passing sidings and a station. There were three scenic sections: minimalist at the front (for tiny fingers); finescale farmland in the middle; and a surreal dinosaur park at the back on a hill with three railway tunnels.
The conundrum was to work out which tunnel mouth the train will emerge from next. The 4’x4′ layout was built over six summer weeks using 4 mm MDF braced with timber. Card was used to support the elevated track. The hill had ply splines filled with crumpled newspaper and covered with Modroc (a thin gauze with plaster). Locomotives – such as the “Terrier 0-6-0T numbered Southern 2662 and originally named “Martello”, above – and track were mostly Hornby. Rolling stock was a mix of all makes, some repainted for added interest.
H0 / Ho-12 Gauge 3.5 mm Scale
This layout was intended to represent a fictional but plausible “New Mexico Railroad Museum” in the city of Santa Fe, in reality only served by a narrow gauge railway until the 1940s when the line from Antonito was abandoned. The layout assumed that the narrow gauge railway survived and still serves both the Museum and local industries. In contrast the preserved standard gauge locomotives just paraded about, giving the operators the chance to run anything they liked! The flexible track was commercially available but the points were hand-built, soldered onto copper-clad sleepers. Control was Digitrax with sound and the layout measured 9 ft x 1 ft 4 in.
In the context of my long battle with layout-prodding toddlers, I liked the plaque legend:
“Care and Caution must be exercised in this area. There are open pits and moving rolling stock. There may also be steam and hot water ejected at any time.”
Also of interest was standard gauge Southern Pacific “cab forward” Class AC-11 4-8-8-2 steam locomotive 4285 – one of 195 built by Baldwin Locomotive Works from 1928 to 1944 and in service until 1958. Although used all over the Southern Pacific system, the oil fired AC-11s are particularly associated with hauling freight trains over the formidable Donner Pass and Cascade Summit on the Sierra Nevada route between California and Nevada. In real life AC-11 4294 is preserved at the California State Railroad Museum at Sacramento.
Only slightly less exotic to British eyes was the Roanoke, Virginia, built Norfolk and Western Class Y6b Class 2-8-8-2 2200. In service from 1948 to 1961, the Y6bs were the last compound Mallet locomotives to run in the United States.
This 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.
Pictured above at the head of a train of Presflos is the latest motive power on Church Hislop, the new Graham Farish by Bachmann Class 31. A true A1A-A1A unlike earlier models with six powered wheels, this is the smoothest running model locomotive I have ever owned and takes me back to my first ever electric model locomotive, the 00 gauge Triang Class 31 of 50 years ago. D5596 was outshopped from Loughborough in March 1960 as Brush works number 196 and was first allocated to 34B Hornsey, a daughter shed of King’s Cross. So at least it is on the right region even if it has strayed way north if the 2B78 headcode (Moorgate and Crews Hill to Hertford North) is to be believed. The other cab has a Class 1 ( express passenger) headcode that would be way over the head of the Derwent Valley Light Railway! D5596 later became 31 403 and was withdrawn in January 1995.
Taking care of the aviation fuel meanwhile is Derby built Class 25/1 D5222, as built again – and weathered by Graham Farish by Bachmann. The 12″ to the foot version was allocated brand new to Cricklewood East Depot (14A) on 21 September 1963 so is technically a little late for Church Hislop although the first Class 25/0s were operational as far back as 1961 . D5222 also served on London Midland and also Scottish Regions rather than North Eastern but did spend some time as a preserved locomotive in the 1980s on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway.
WEISSWASSER by Harry Harper N Gauge 2mm Scale
Weisswasser was a Swiss mainline threading its way along a couple of river valleys somewhere in the foothills of the Alps. The two rivers joined at the head of a lake where the trains make connection with a lake steamer and two small branch lines. The model attempted to give the impression that the scenery was there first. As well as Swiss trains, cross border workings from Germany, Austria, France and Italy were seen. Scenery was pasted newspaper, masonry structures were made from cork flooring tiles, ballast and tree foliage were coloured tea leaves. Dimensions were 7 x 7 ft. In this picture, Cargoserv marked Bo-Bo ES64-U2-080 heads a train carrying articulated heavy goods lorries from one Swiss frontier to another to avoid the nation’s strict environmental pollution controls. Cargoserv own four ES64 U2 Class engines which can run on either 15 000 or 25 000 volt electric currents.
GLOUCESTER MODEL RAILWAY CLUB
In 1897 two 4-4-4T were built by Glasgow based Sharp Stewart – an antecedent of the North British Locomotive Company – for the semi-fast passenger workings between Andoversford and Andover of the Midland and South Western Junction Railway. The MSWJR was formed in 1884 from the amalgamation of the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway and the Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway. The two four coupled tank engines were given Sharp Stewart works numbers 4300 and 4301 and MSWJR running numbers 17 and 18. 17 was initially based at Andover Junction while 18 was shedded at Swindon Town.
When the MSWJR was absorbed by the Great Western after Grouping in 1923, number 18 was rebuilt at Swindon with a taper boiler, new cab and extended bunker to Lot E1097 and became GWR engine 27. Ex MSWJR 17 similarly became GWR 25. In this form GWR 4-4-4T 27 (pictured in model form) worked around Kidderminster until withdrawn from the depot there in September 1929 while 25 was withdrawn from the GWR’s Swindon shed in October 1927. I look forward to seeing this Roxey Mouldings cast white metal locomotive in-build by club members complete at a future model show!