All photos in this Blogspot and those accessed in Picasaweb via the links in each report are my Copyright and may be saved for personal use only. They may not be republished elsewhere without the written permission of the Copyright holder.

Hello and welcome to my reinstated and updated photo reports of visits to narrow gauge model railway layouts and events! Following the sudden and untimely cessation of Fotopic in March 2011 and with it the loss of my photo galleries, I started this blog in order to try to keep my "Roving Reports" available to those who enjoy viewing them. I have linked this blogsite to the old galleries which I rebuilt and posted in Picasaweb Albums. Once all the old reports had been rebuilt, I have continued to add completely new ones to cover my visits to events from April 2011 onwards.

Because of the way this Blogspot works, the most recent postings appear first and the oldest ones last. Each report contains a link to the Picasaweb photo album plus captions for that report. The link will take you to an automatically scrolling slideshow but you can view at your own desired speed manually or view individual photos through the Picasaweb contents simply by using the controls which appear below the slideshow photos.

Any report can be accessed sequentially by scrolling downwards and if required, click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of the list, or simply go to the Blog Archive on the right of the window and select any report by simply clicking on the title.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

17 January 2015, SWOONS Members Open Day – Ilton, Somerset

2015 got itself off to the now traditional great narrow gauge start to the year with the 9th annual South West 009 Society’s (SWOONS) members open day in the Merryfield Hall at Ilton, between Yeovil and Taunton in Somerset. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it is the watchword and once again, Geoff Bowyer and his team laid on a super friendly day and managed to shoehorn 10 layouts, 3 traders plus the full 009 Society sales roadshow as well as Matthew and Maria Cicquel’s 5 star refreshments into a small village hall without somehow making it seem cramped! Those who do travel from far and wide in some cases to be at Ilton in January know that it is well worth the effort to get there and enjoy the special non-elitist fellowship of narrow gauge modelling in a relaxed informal and friendly environment. Kick yourself now if you didn’t go!

Click Here to View the Photo Album for this Report

Friday, 9 January 2015

08 January 2015 - New Year Roundup – 3 that nearly slipped through the net in 2014

Starting a new year, or finishing off an old one, depending which angle you look at it from, a couple of layouts and a visit to help launch a ready to run 009 loco that I didn’t manage to fit into any of my 2014 reports, but too good to simply let them fade away. First is a small selection of photos I took on a visit to Rod Allcock’s home in Devon to take some photos of his newly released ready to run 009 diesel loco “Dirty Doris”, which I can personally highly recommend as a super little model, then a flying visit to the Fareham MRC exhibition on the 5 October where members of the host club were exhibiting the splendid 09 estate railway Watt Estate and Patrick Collins with a couple of fellow members of the Wessex NG Modellers had brought Ryedown Lane to the show.

Monday, 29 December 2014

30 November 2014, Dorset Narrow Gauge Open Day, Colehill near Wimborne

Following the successful Members Morning’s that Brian Guilmant had organised in 2012 and 2013, for this year he laid on a full day mini-exhibition with a selection of top quality invited layouts in 3 scales, both the 009 Society and 7mm NGA sales stands, a “drop in surgery” for sick items of stock provided by fault finding wizard Ian Turner and the usual superb refreshments provided by Muriel Guilmant and her team of volunteer ladies. Once again, enthusiasts who know a good thing when they see it came from near and in some cases very far and including those who were participating, about 100 people enjoyed an outstanding friendly day of narrow gauge modelling fellowship. What a splendid way to round off another full year of these superb little informal events. If you haven’t been to one yet, then make sure you do in 2015 – a much more enjoyable day out than you get at the big mainstream exhibitions!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

25 October 2014, Expo NG, Swanley, Kent

Another Friday evening in late October, M25 totally gridlocked and still 10 miles of it to suffer before arrival at Swanley for “setting up” and hopefully managing to get to the Campanile Hotel under the QE Bridge approach before the bar closes – It must be ExpoNG time again, doesn’t time fly! This time the year 2014 formed an appropriate title for a selection of superb 0-14 layouts amongst the 18 top quality NG layouts assembled “amongst all the trade stands”. Once again the event was one of the main focal points of the year for like minded narrow gauge modellers from near and far to meet up and once again due to the number of photos I took I have had to split this report into 2 parts. A great day was had by all who managed to get there!

Part 2 continues with more layouts, including a special extended coverage of Richard Glover’s Pagham  Harbour, which was being shown for the final time before being retired. Fortunately for fans of this splendid layout, it has now passed to the safe keeping of a very experienced 009 modeller so there is a chance that this was actually not the “final” showing of the layout. In order to provide photos which I hope has given viewers something of the experience of a day at ExpoNG, producing a report with over 200 photos and with captions as well, is very time consuming, but I have enjoyed this task and do hope that you enjoy it equally. I do hope to be able to continue to produce these photo reports particularly so that those who are unable to attend either through distance, health, or personal circumstances may be able to attend “virtually” via my photos.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

27 September 2014, Small & Delightful Railway Group Open Day, Compton Dundon, Somerset

The Small & Delightful Railway Group are the small team of dedicated mainly Somerset based narrow gauge modellers that organise and host Narrow Gauge Southwest at Shepton Mallet every February. Because of the size and success of this super event, they are unable to show off their own layouts so, every couple of years they get together with some additional invited layouts from relatively local modellers to have a small, informal and very enjoyable little show of their own. To round off a splendid day out for all those who like this type of small specialist event, the Glastonbury Lions ladies provide a fantastic array of world class cakes. The Great British Bake Off TV competition pales into insignificance compared to a Glastonbury Ladies Victoria Cream Sponge! 14 narrow gauge layouts, covering all the main scales – a really splendid and enjoyable feast of modelling (and cakes!).

Friday, 5 September 2014

16 August 2014, Ice Cream, Jelly and Trains in Sussex

A gathering of guests invited by Chris Ford and Nigel Hill to play and talk trains, and to consume jelly & ice cream took place at a secret location in Mid-Sussex on the 16th August. Although I’ve been invited before, this was the first time I had managed to get to this exclusive gathering. The “invite conditions” are that you have to bring a layout or something to show and I must admit I was not sure how my table of 009 stock would be received, however everyone either approved or were too polite to indicate otherwise. Hurrah! The company was outstanding as was the quality of the items brought along to show, and the hospitality of the hosts: Chris, Nigel, Karen and Mrs Ford senior, who all worked ceaselessly all day replenishing the food and the teapot was fantastic. A splendid party indeed and huge thanks for the invitation!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

29 June 2014, East Midlands Group, 009 Society Members Day, Portland College nr Mansfield

So, the excellent Oxfordshire NGM members day came to a close and those of us in it for the duration all packed up and headed 130 miles north, to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. This was the first full scale members day for the East Midlands Group and they had found a good venue thanks to the generosity of Portland College Principal (and East Midlands Group member!) Dr Mark Dale. No less than 21 layouts and several static displays as well as 009 Society sales, A1 models, Fourdees and Andrew Neale providing trade support. It was another splendid day and I for one am very glad that I made the decision to travel a long way from home and pay out for petrol and a hotel bed in order to attend - well worth it and again much appreciation to the hosting Group for a very enjoyable event indeed.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

28 June 2014, Oxfordshire NG Railway Modellers Open Day, Steventon

The first of 2 narrow gauge modelling events this weekend saw the “009 Society Road Show” making tracks to Steventon, near Abingdon, for the 2nd biennial open day organised by Richard Holder and fellow members of the Oxfordshire NG Railway Modellers. A splendid location, including a cricket match on the green outside the hall and absolutely outstanding hospitality and organisation by the Group inside the hall!  There were14 top quality layouts, a good selection of traders plus a very well stocked 009 Society sales stand and excellent 5 star refreshments. It was a super day, spent in friendly company and just the right start to a full weekend of modelling excellence! All too soon, it was time to pack up the sales stock, Rod Allcock’s Corris layout and A1 Models, all appearing at both events, and a number of 009 Society members headed north towards the Sunday event at Mansfield.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

17 May 2014, SWING, Bognor Regis

"Small Wonderful Industrial and Narrow Gauge", which is quite a mouthful but actually very descriptive of what this little event is all about. Organised by the South Downs Group of the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association, I expected the event to be awash with 7mm NG and nothing much else, but I was very wrong as actually there were only about half the layouts in the 7mm NGA own favoured scale range, the other half containing five 3½/4mm plus one each Sn2 and BIG 7/8" scale layouts as well as a 5/7¼" dual gauge steam powered kiddy ride outside on the lawn. Overall it was a splendid, informal and friendly day, in the best tradition of members days and it was very well attended by narrow gauge enthusiasts, some of whom had travelled considerable distances to join in. This was the 6th annual SWING event but my first, I certainly don’t intend it to be my last!

Monday, 14 April 2014

05 April 2014, Narrow Gauge South, Sparsholt College, Winchester


For the 12th biennial NGS at Sparsholt College, near Winchester, Alan Rolfe and the hosting Wessex NG Modellers put on another fantastic day that once again proved to be a challenge to get round everything as well as fit in the 009 Society AGM within the available time! 27 layouts plus a further 3 on trade and society stands, amongst a total of 54 stands, there was a feast of top quality layouts and modelling on display, all set in the friendly atmosphere that this do is renowned for. Another overload of shutter clicking from me to the extent that, once again I have had to split my report into 2 instalments in order to provide what I hope is a fair representation of everything that there was to see on the day – I’ve even had to omit the traditional food photos this time (except for one!). I hope you enjoy the selection I have chosen!


Part 2 continues in the same room that we completed Part 1 in, where we had just looked at a splendid American 0n30 layout. Immediately opposite was another American narrow gauge layout, this time in HOn30, providing a good contrast and comparison for anyone still confused about size and scale nomenclature! Still only about half way through our tour of the diverse and entertaining selection of narrow gauge layouts that Exhibition Manager Alan Rolfe had invited from near and far, like many others who attended, I found it quite a challenge to get round everything allowing sufficient time to enjoy all that I saw, and like others reported, I very nearly missed out on a couple of rooms, but, having double checked the show programme, I am as confident as I can be that I got at least a glimpse of every layout present !

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

15 February 2014, Narrow Gauge South West, Shepton Mallet

For the 22nd Small & Delightful Group's wonderful day out at Shepton Mallet, some 25% of those who normally attend looked at their atlases and worked out that as Shepton Mallet is in Somerset, it must be under 6ft of water, so must be too dangerous to attend. For the other 75% who know enough about geography to know that the flooded Somerset Levels are to the WEST of Glastonbury and Shepton is several miles to the EAST, then they had a bit more room to walk around the halls and enjoy the 25 layouts and loads of traders and societies present in what in many minds is the biggest, best and friendliest annual narrow gauge modelling event of them all. Unfortunately I got called back home on urgent matters at around lunchtime, but I still managed to get some photos of just about everything so here is my record of what was another fantastic trip to Somerset.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

26 January 2014, Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Members Open Day, Barton Le Clay

Barton Le Clay seems to get better every year! This time, the 9th annual open day that Mark Howe and the Beds & Bucks NG Modellers have put on, there were 16 layouts in a variety of scales and despite the bad weather, over 200 people were present in the village hall making it a very snug and friendly event indeed. The 5 star catering team were hard at it all day providing a never ending queue with fried sausage baps and loads of other super goodies whilst Brian Guilmant and his 009 Society sales team were under siege in an adjoining room as usual. This open day has filled the gap for a narrow gauge modelling event that is accessible from all 4 points of the compass that was left when Chilterns NG stopped some years ago and has become one of the top NG specialist events in the calendar. Well Done Indeed Everyone!

Monday, 31 March 2014

11 January 2014, SWOONS Members Open Day, Ilton, Somerset

Another extremely wet and windy start to the year as Brian Guilmant and myself loaded flares and lifejackets into the 009 Society Salesmobile and set forth into the waterworld that parts of Somerset had become. Our destination, Ilton, is very near the flooded Somerset Levels and at times the A303 heading west from Yeovil was a bit like a causeway across a giant lake but we navigated a dry route and got there safely, as did a good number of narrow gauge enthusiasts, ready to enjoy the 8th South West Group 009 Society Members Open Day. Once again Matt and Maria Cicquel came up from the Devon Railway Centre and provided 5 star beverages and food including some splendid hot “oggies” whilst everyone enjoyed the usual informal, relaxed and friendly gathering amidst an entertaining variety of models provided by the host group and friends. Well done to all the SWOONS team for an excellent event.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Visit to Tim Sanderson's Elmgate and Thatcham Light Railway

A long time ago Tim Sanderson invited me to visit his home in Haywards Heath and take some photos of the Elmgate & Thatcham. Eventually the opportunity arose in September 2013 and just 2 weeks after my photo session at Brian Guilmant’s home, I found myself visiting Tim at last. I have been an admirer of Tim’s innovative and imaginative modelling since I first read about his “Jintybash” locomotives in Railway Modeller January 2000 and subsequent articles on converted TT goods vehicles and Meridian Ashover coach modifications in the July 2001 and August 2002 issues respectively.  This is a portable layout built for exhibitions and operation and is a complete contrast to Brian’s Imperial Western in the previous report. As I couldn’t publish results of my photo session at the time, I thought it appropriate to put it in here as a fitting finale to my 2013 outings with the camera. I hope you agree!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

A Visit To Brian Guilmant's Imperial Western Railway

I mentioned in the report on the Member’s Morning on 14 December 2014 (the previous report in this blog) that, in addition to organising a mini-exhibition in his local community hall, Brian Guilmant had also invited visitors to see the fantastic narrow gauge empire that he has been building in his 30ft x 14ft converted attic. As can be appreciated I’m sure, taking photos of a home layout visit with a number of people present can be “challenging”, so I thought it entirely appropriate to cheat a little here and insert a record of a special invitation that I had from Brian 3 months earlier, in September, to take a set of photos of the layout which he used some of in his article that was published in 009 News issue for December 2013. Here then is my own guided tour of the world that exists in Brian’s Attic!

Friday, 28 March 2014

14 December 2014, 009 Society and Wessex NGM Members Morning, Colehill, Wimborne

Following the success of the Members Morning in Colehill in 2012, Brian Guilmant, hired the Colehill community hall a hundred yards from his home and organised another one for 2013, to the same recipe as the previous year: a selection of invited layouts, complete with the 009 Society sales stand, bacon rolls for breakfast and soup and rolls for lunch, a visit to Brian’s fantastic narrow gauge empire in his attic and for the Wessex NG Modellers members and invited guests, their own Group Christmas Meeting in the afternoon. Another very successful day, if exhausting for the organiser! Lots of people made the journey, some travelling considerable distances. I had to leave at lunchtime, but everyone that I spoke to during the morning told me that they thought it was a splendid little do and a very enjoyable way to spend a Saturday morning!

Click Here to view the Photo Album for this Report

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

26 October 2013, Expo NG, Swanley

Expong time again! Just 4 weeks after the 009 Society 40th Anniversary Convention, I was half expecting ExpoNG to be a bit of an anticlimax, but I was very much mistaken. The day was much the same formula as normal – 65 stands with 18 of them being layouts, but supplemented by another half dozen or so within the society and trade stands, plus 5 more entries for the Dave Brewer Challenge. I thought that the layouts this year were of particularly top quality with some really stunning examples of modelmaking across the spectrum and in a variety of scales. In fact, my shutter finger was so busy trying to keep up with constant stream of superb photo subjects that I found myself in front of, that I have had to split this photo report into 2 parts in order to try to give a worthwhile impression of the day as a whole.

Many people describe ExpoNG as “a trade show with some layouts” which is rather unkind, but there are a larger proportion of trade and society stands present at this event than one normally finds at the other “national” narrow gauge model shows, Therefore I thought it appropriate in order to present a valid impression of what a day at ExpoNG is like, to include a reasonably wide selection of photos of the trade and association stands with some of the people who provide these specialised services to the hobby in addition to the normal layout photos. Obviously I did not have the time to include every one, but I have tried to be as fair as possible and to include some of the regular attenders that don’t normally get a mention in these post-show reports. Part 1 therefore is rather heavy on people and trade stands, but there are also some super layouts included!

As usual, no stars awarded to the White Oak Leisure Centre for the catering but all deserved accolades to the bakery shop in Swanley Village High Street where it is always packed by 8am on the morning of ExpoNG by those “in the know” about where the good food is! ExpoNG 2013 celebrated 3 anniversaries – 30 years of ExpoNG, 45 years of the hosting Greenwich & District NG Railway Society and 40 years of Meridian Models. It was a very pleasant day amongst a large number of like-minded narrow gauge fans. Much appreciation to Hazel Brewer and all the Greenwich Society members for their hard work.

Part 2 continues with more layouts and models, with a wealth of top quality modelling still to be seen. Although producing this photo album with nearly 180 photos and captions to be added, is quite hard work, and very time consuming, I have really enjoyed the task of selecting and arranging the album and I hope that you enjoy it equally. The most difficult task for me was in having to decide which photos NOT to include in order to keep the size of the reports down to a relatively manageable size! I look forward to meeting some of you at future events and I do hope to continue to be able to produce these photo reports particularly so that those who are unable to attend either through distance, health, or personal circumstances may be able to attend “virtually” via my photos.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

27-29 September 2013. 009 Society 40th Anniversary Convention, Kegworth

2 years ago Brian Guilmant started to plan his vision for the 009 Society to host a weekend convention to mark the 40th anniversary of the Society in 2013. A suitable centrally located venue was found at the Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel and Conference Centre in Kegworth, 2 miles from the East Midlands Airport near Loughborough. Like “topsy” it just “growed” from an original estimate of about 50 members attending to having the whole hotel given over exclusively to the Society and another hotel 100 yards up the road providing overflow accommodation as well. 200 stayed the weekend and attended the dinner and over 300 signed in as visitors between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. Although conventions are not unique, there has certainly never been an event of this nature before in the 40 years history of the 009 Society and what a resounding success it was!

Originally it was planned to invite a maximum of 8 layouts, due to space restrictions and having to pack the room up for the Saturday dinner. However, when the number of booking applications resulted in the whole hotel being given over exclusively to the Society, the invited layouts grew to 21, some staying the whole weekend and some just for Saturday. Sunday morning was declared as “open house, bring anything you want” and another 15 layouts, ranging in size from Michael Campbell’s trophy winning shoebox layout Southon Yard to Roger Bugg’s 10ft x 10ft home based layout depicting the whole of the Talyllyn Railway just “turned up”. Added to all that was a continuous round of both planned and ad hoc clinics covering many aspects of railway modelling running from Friday evening through to Sunday lunchtime with breaks only for sleep, food and the Saturday dinner night! Specialist Traders and 009 Society Sales were in operation until 11pm on the Friday and on both Saturday and Sunday were up and running from 8 in the morning. All this for a £5 weekend convention fee! You don’t get that at Warley!

I tried my best to take photos covering as much of the weekend activities as I could. This was indeed a mammoth challenge and I failed quite miserably with some of the Saturday only layouts as by the time I got to the room where they were late on Saturday afternoon, they were all packing up the room ready for the grand dinner night, but I did manage to get at least one photo of all layouts present – I think! Sincere apologies to any that were missed – must try harder next time – 45th or 50th anniversary? Some people would like it to happen every year now they’ve been to one!

Because of the mammoth size of this event and some really special photo opportunities arising, which you will see in the photos, I have had to split this into instalments. Simply click on the links shown in the usual way to be taken to the different photo album instalments.  If you didn’t attend, I hope this provides a reasonably comprehensive illustrated record of what was a fantastic 48 hour event. If you did attend, I hope it gives you a souvenir and hopefully a reminder of what went on – although I am certain that many will have seen a lot of aspects that I didn’t!

Part 1 starts us off with a selection of general snaps around the different rooms, some people that got trapped in my lens, a quick tour around some of the many clinics just to get some of the flavour, a mercifully short selection of murky photos taken during the Saturday evening grand dinner and the Minitrains competition entries Then as a prelude to the “main event” ie the models, we at last get to see at least a glimpse of the Saturday layouts and some of the models and Heritage Collection models in the display cabinets. 

Part 2 concentrates on the layouts that were brought along for the informal and largely ad hoc Sunday morning session. In some ways this was the best part of the weekend. Wherever you went there were layouts, from micro to large, that just sort of “turned up” and were set up basically anywhere there was a convenient space and a plug. I’m sure there was some furious organisational paddling going on just beneath the surface but above it everything ran like a well oiled machine, everyone that I saw was enjoying themselves immensely, new friends were being made, the sun was shining outside for interludes on the terrace and all in all, it was about the best Sunday morning I can remember having anytime, anywhere!

Part 3 includes most of the layouts that were present for the whole weekend. A superb variety of layout sizes, styles and vintages ranging from a tiny layout on its first live showing in the UK to several iconic layouts that have been regularly exhibited for up to nearly 40 years. Within this box of delights are included a couple of past Railway and Continental Modeller “Railways of the Month”, a forthcoming one (see the December 2013 issue of RM out next month!) and a number of highly acclaimed award winners. A truly splendid cornucopia of 009 modelling excellence indeed!

In the 1950’s there was only one narrow gauge layout regularly published, the Craig & Mertonford Railway, the late Philip (PD) Hancock’s masterpiece, that appeared in articles in MRN initially, from November 1950 and then in RM regularly right through the 1950’s into the early 60’s and then at irregular intervals right up to February 1993. Many will have read opening paragraphs to layout descriptions that listed PDH and the CMR as their inspiration to take up ng modelling.

Most of the original CMR was broken up but one part, Dundreich, survived and Malcolm MacLeod, with the support of the Edinburgh & Lothians MRC that now owns it, has painstakingly worked to restore it and managed to borrow much of the surviving CMR NG stock from the current owner, Lee Marsh just for the Convention. Dundreich at the Convention was a very special event indeed. For me, it was by far the highlight.of what was already a very special event.

Well, that has been my impressions of what was a truly memorable weekend. I hope that the 4 parts of my report have provided a reasonable record illustrating the atmosphere of the event and the variety of models and layouts that were there to be seen and enjoyed. We must all do it again sometime - but perhaps not every weekend or even every month!

Friday, 23 August 2013

10 August 2013, Wiltshire Group 009 Society Members Day and MOMING 13, Pewsey

The 009 Society Wiltshire Group’s 14th Biennial Members Day has been and gone and if you missed it, you’ll have to wait another 2 years for the next one! Approximately 200 (including participants) people did make their way to Pewsey and once again, it was a really splendid day out with 9 representatives from specialist traders and narrow gauge model societies; and no less than 20 layouts including 7 participating in Christopher Payne’s  9th MOMING gathering, the 5th time they have joined with the 009 Society at Pewsey. If traders are prepared to travel from Scotland and Manchester, as well as Birmingham and the West Country to spend Saturday in a village hall in rural Wiltshire, then there must be something special about it mustn’t there? Huge appreciation to Andy Cundick and the Wiltshire Group team plus Christopher Payne once again for their considerable efforts. Looking forward to Pewsey 15, 2015 already!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

01 June 2013, South West 009 Society Group (SWOONS) at the Exeter Model Railway Exhibition

A space in the diary, Exeter MRX with the traditional SWOONS heavy presence and, a realisation that it is 3 years since I last got to this excellent show! No excuses then and on a fine Saturday morning I duly arrived in Exeter to find a bevy of 009 layouts and a publicity stand camped just inside the entrance, so that everyone who came to the show just had to be educated about the 009 Society before passing on into the less exciting world of standard gauge layouts – although to be fair, some of them were very good! The only negative point of an otherwise excellent day was that the entrance hall has a very large dark green skylight, causing everything to be bathed in a ghastly turquoise coloured glow! My first 2 unedited photos show what I was faced with – certainly a photographic challenge, which I struggled to overcome!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

20 April 2013, 009 Society AGM and Members Day, Rainford, St Helens

This was my third 009 Society AGM trip to Rainford, Merseyside and for various reasons I have not yet managed a night’s sleep beforehand, this year being no exception!. I dropped my son off at Heathrow at 9pm the previous night, got snarled up on the M6 around Birmingham and arrived in the car park at Rainford at 2am where I proceeded to doss down in the car – well worth the discomfort and sleep loss as at least I was in early and got 2 cups of tea with my bacon toastie! Thanks to the ladies and 5 stars already awarded before we even got to the scrumptious cakes! Superbly organised by Stan Williams and Merseyside & SW Lancs colleagues, an excellent show was opened by Pete Waterman, a great selection of layouts and a host of friendly modellers present. I hope you enjoy my photo impressions of the day!

Monday, 1 April 2013

16 March 2013, Sussex Downs 009 Group Open Day, Haywards Heath

The Sussex Downs Group laid on their 4th biennial open day in the 4th location that we have visited for the event in and around Haywards Heath - and I think this was the best of the four so far both for event and location! A very professionally organised event that attracted around 100 members and guest visitors and featured 12 layouts, mainly in 009 with trade support from Narrow Planet, Meridian Models, Rodney Stenning and the 009 Society Sales, Star of the show was the celebration of Evaleight, the group layout's 35th birthday with a joining of the all the sections amounting to a 50ft plus layout, which I make no apology for devoting nearly half of my photos to. Very impressive indeed! I had a great day in Sussex as did everyone at the show that I spoke to. Well done chaps - looking forward to 2015 already! 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

16 February 2013, Narrow Gauge South West, Shepton Mallet

3rd Saturday in February, easterly wind and chill factor makes it seem freezing, but the sun is shining brightly – must be NG South West! The annual Small & Delightful “do” at Shepton Mallet is a reminder that winter is nearly over and it is time for a big get together, enjoy some super modelling, enjoy the friendly company of like-minded boys and girls and eat lots of cake! Once again, Howard Martin and his team of “jolly helpers” put turkey farming, tractors and cider drinking to one side and pulled together to provide a memorable day out in Somerset for the nearly 600 paying visitors who joined the 100 or so already inside who were participating one way or another. I very much enjoyed the day, I always do, and everyone I spoke to shared the same opinion. It was, in short, a fantastic, friendly, informal and hugely inspiring experience.

Friday, 15 February 2013

27 January 2013, Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Open Day, Barton Le Clay

For the 8th Beds & Bucks NG Modellers open day at Barton Le Clay, just north of Luton, Mark Howe and his colleagues pulled out all the stops to create a real mega-fest of narrow gauge modelling with a total of no less than 18 layouts large and small plus another 4 in a pizza layout  display. 22 layouts in total, a good representation from specialist traders, the 009 Society members sales and of course, splendid refreshments provided by the 4 very hard working ladies who persevered cheerfully throughout the day keeping everyone fed and watered. 5 stars plus golden mustard spoon for the catering!

A splendid turnout of some 185 paying visitors joined the 50 or so who were participating or posing and once again, top grade congratulations to the Beds and Bucks team for laying on what everyone agreed was their best one yet!

12 January 2013, SWOONS Members Open Day, Ilton, Somerset

Another start to another year as Brian Ellsmore and myself splashed our way to the village of Ilton in Somerset with a van full of the 009 Society sales stock for the SWOONS (South West group 009 Society) and their 7th Members Open Day. Is it a year since the last one? Doesn’t time fly! A splendid way to kick the new year into life despite the weather as around 100 enthusiasts converged on this very wet rural location, some travelling considerable distances to be there. Matt and Maria Cicquel provided 5 star beverages and food including some splendid hot “oggies” whilst everyone enjoyed the usual informal, relaxed and friendly gathering amidst some superb layouts and models. All who attended agreed a very big “well done” to the SWOONS team for another truly excellent day.

Friday, 11 January 2013

08 December 2012, 009 Society Members Morning, Colehill, Dorset

The 009 Society’s hard working sales officer, Brian Guilmant, was hosting the annual Wessex NGM Christmas meeting, buffet and quiz this year and decided to hire the Colehill community hall a hundred yards from his home and add a Society Member's Morning, complete with the sales stand to make a full day of it. Tucked away in Dorset the location may have been but it didn't stop some 75 members turning up, some travelling from as far as Yorkshire and a big contingent came from the West Midlands. Everyone that I spoke to agreed that it was a splendid little do overall, super food courtesy of the Wessex ladies and professionally organised as ever by Brian and team. A very much better way to spend a pre-Christmas Saturday morning than fighting for survival in the shops!

27 October 2012, Expo Narrow Gauge, Swanley

I wasn’t sure what to expect at Expong this year. Pre-publicity indicated that it was going to be another large “do” with around 70 stands, but with just a few layouts scattered amongst all the trade and society tables. Pre-show pessimism was blown to the 4 winds however with 11 pizza layouts present for the Dave Brewer Challenge and Christopher Payne’s annual “MOMING” (Modelling the Minimum Gauge) gathering of mainly Gn15, G9 and 09 layouts joining forces in the main hall with the dozen or so “normal” narrow gauge layouts in a variety of scales to make a very good all round feast of top quality model variety and once again an extremely enjoyable day amongst a large number of fellow-afflicted narrow gauge modelling enthusiasts. Well deserved accolades to Hazel Brewer and all in the Greenwich NG Society for their hard work laying on and organising another good’un!

Click Here to view the Photo Album for this Report

Thursday, 1 November 2012

06 October 2012, M5/M50 NG Modellers Open Day, Corse & Staunton, Gloucestershire

Another early start, this time heading towards Corse and Staunton in rural Gloucestershire where the M5/M50 NG Modellers, with support from a number of members of the West Midlands Group, had laid on an excellent variety of goodies to make the journey very worthwhile for the considerable numbers who attended.

With the layouts supplemented by the full sales stands from both the 009 Society and the 7mm NGA, plus a number of traders and preservation societies, a super lucky dip lottery from Shirley Harper; and Jane and Janet with almost all the Webb family in support providing 5 star refreshments throughout the day from bacon butties at breakfast through to ploughman’s lunch with non stop cakes in between - what more needs to be said, it was a great day out in the customary friendly and informal style. 

Here's a selection of photos which I hope covers most of what there was to see.

Monday, 15 October 2012

29 September 2012 - Small & Delightful Railway Group Open Day, Compton Dundon near Street

The Small & Delightful Railway Group, who organise NG Southwest at Shepton Mallet, held their own biennial open day at Compton Dundon village hall, near Street in Somerset on 29 September. Unfortunately this time round, attendance was affected by the group having a new location, which was not widely publicised, and their own website published the event as being the weekend before! Added to this, a couple of layouts dropped out just the day before, so those hardy exhibition chasers that did manage to find the show had rather thin pickings. On the plus side however, both the 7mm NGA and 009 Society sales were present in full and some real bargains were able to be identified without jostling amongst crowds, the day was the expected informal and friendly gathering - and the Victoria Cream Sponge cake baked by the Glastonbury Lions ladies was probably the nicest I have ever sampled! 

Friday, 31 August 2012

18 August 2012, Narrow Gauge Midlands, Water Orton

Up early and on the road north again, this time to Water Orton and the West Midlands Group biennial members day ably organised by Jane Thompson Webb (5 Star Catering) and Julien Webb (everything else) with fellow West Midlands group worthies for another friendly, informal and enjoyable day amidst like minded narrow gauge modelling enthusiasts. 9 x 009, one HOe, one 00n3 and a 4mm scale 4ft 1½in tram layout along with superb trade support from CWR Models, RT Models and Worsley Works plus artist Angela Baker with some very nicely painted backscenes and of course the 009 Society sales stand with volunteers who once again came considerable distances to contribute to a great day out in the Midlands. Plus of course Jane’s superb refreshment service and a surprise to delight all followers of pioneering narrow gauge modelling (see the photos below!). Great stuff, looking forward to the next one already!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

30 June 2012, Oxfordshire NG Railway Modellers Members Open Day, Steventon

Despite the downpours, floods and pestilence this summer, Richard Holder and his fellow Oxfordshire NG Railway Modellers were granted fine weather for their first group open day and nearly 250 participants, supporters and visitors were rewarded with a super event that was well worth the considerable organisation and efforts committed towards it. 14 top quality layouts, 13 being in 009, with between them, 4 featured in Railway Modeller, 3 trophies and a further AGM Certificate of Commendation, ensuring that the description of "top quality" really was accurate. This Members Day really did tick all the boxes in terms of all that is best about this type of do - friendly, informal, great fun, splendid refreshments available all day, and a great venue - very suitable for future events, which we all hope will be considered for a repeat by the host Group!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

14 April 2012, NG South, Sparsholt College, Winchester

It is incorrectly assumed by many that, because the biennial NG South, at Sparsholt College, near Winchester, also hosts the 009 Society AGM, that it is exclusively an 009 event. Well, amongst the 30+ layouts that Alan Rolfe and the Wessex NGM team had organised for this year's Hoedown in Hampshire, half of them were in other scales, so a fair balance was provided for all interests. Overall there were 59 stands including trade and societies. It was a top class event as it always is and I hope my selection of photos will at least give a flavour of the day of what will surely turn out to have been the best narrow gauge show this year. Well I thought so and so did lots of other commentators on t'internet. I hope you enjoy this selection. That's enough from me, let's have a look at the show!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

24 March 2012, Cornish NG Expo, Threemilestone near Truro

To Kernow and The West! As 009 Society Sales Officer Brian Guilmant was unable to travel to the Cornish NG Expo at Threemilestone near Truro on 24 March I was asked if I could take the sales stock on his behalf. Well what's a 17 hour 400 mile round trip, and reveille at 0400 when there is a promise of not only a bacon butty for breakfast but a genuine Cornish Pasty for lunch? A splendid little group do was held, very well hosted by Tom and Lyn Snook, and of course the Cornish NG Railway Modellers. I would especially mention Bob Ayers who came all the way from Gloucestershire to spend the whole day on the sales table with me, plus Marion Blair who also stepped into the sales team. Thanks to you both for your sterling work and enabling me to "swan off with my camera" for an hour or so to grab some snaps of the delights on offer! Although the hall seemed quiet at times, I believe the day was very successful and Tom reported that there were 165 through the door - very good for a group event of this type. I certainly enjoyed the experience and of course the 5 star catering, which is of course illustrated here to show those that thought the far south west to be beyond their travelling range what they missed!

Click Here to see the Photo Album for this Report

10 March 2012, Narrow Gauge North, Rawdon, Leeds

To The North! Despite living in Yorkshire for many years of my earlier life, I never got to NG North, so this year I thought that it was high time that I made another trip beyond the Watford Gap from my home in Dorset. I duly set off into the pre-dawn gloom very early on Saturday 10 March, and arrived in what is regarded by southern softies as "the frozen north" in Leeds some 5 hours later to find sunshine, lots of cheerful people and lots of trains, even if some of the people were difficult to understand! A very good day out, good to renew acquaintances with friends that I don't often get the opportunity to meet face to face as it were and well worth the expense and long hours to get there and back. Must do it again next year! There were around 20 layouts in the show, which is supported by all the major societies, so obviously there were also a wide range of scales represented in the layouts, plus a 7¼” gauge passenger carrying line set up by the 7¼ Society along one of the corridors!

Friday, 16 March 2012

3-4 March 2012, Strabane at the Romsey Model Railway Exhibition

On Sunday 4th March I had a “2 hour window” in the morning so decided to visit the Romsey Model Railway Exhibition, organised by the local railway modellers society. This is a fairly small show, normally about a dozen layouts, of a variety of scales and types and always good quality. This year there were 3 narrow gauge layouts: Feltwell Road in 009 from Stuart Reeve and sons, John Thorne with his 009 Purbeck and Andy Cundick with his 00n3 work in progress: Strabane. I have photographed Purbeck and Feltwell Road several times before so as time was tight, I concentrated on Strabane, as it is a while since I last saw the layout and the work has progressed a great deal since then. So this short report is entirely for County Donegal Railways fans! More of Andy’s superb Irish models are in the Donegal and Bradford-on-Avon reports from 2009.

One of Andy Cundick’s information notices at the front of the layout states that Strabane is “the fourth in my trilogy of County Donegal layouts” – and there is a bit of Irish for you! Previous 00n3 layouts in the “series” were: Donegal Town, Castlefin and Letterkenny. Andy has also exhibited another Irish narrow gauge layout showing the Londonderry & Lough Swilly border station Bridge End, just outside Londonderry on the Swilly line to Buncrana and Burtonport.

Photos of Strabane, showing just how far this ambitious layout has progressed since its first outing can be seen in my reports from: Narrow Gauge South West 2009 and Narrow Gauge South 2010. And there’s more to come! So far Andy has modelled just the northern end of the narrow gauge part of Strabane station, as far as the footbridge, for those that are familiar with the location. He intends to add a further 8ft beyond the bridge, and was also telling me of tentative plans to extend the width of the station boards to show at least part of the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) broad gauge station. Ambitious indeed and I very much look forward to seeing further progress of this project.