All photos in this Blogspot and those accessed in Google Images 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 twice 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 originally rebuilt and posted in albums in Picasaweb 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.

In August 2016 Google very kindly and arbitrarily blocked access to Picasaweb in order to force everyone to use their "much better" Google Images, so I had to do the whole exercise again. Thanks! Google Images is certainly much easier to view, but to upload to - well try it yourself, I have made my own judgement and it isn't a very complimentary one, so the long term future of this blog remains in doubt.

Meanwhile......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 Google Images photo album plus captions for that report. The link will take you to the front page of the Google Images Album for this report. Left click on the first photo and it will open into a manually operated slideshow. A panel should open alongside the image on the right showing the number of the photo and the caption text. If it does not appear, click on the small white disk top right of the photo panel and it will open. On albums created before August 2016 which were created originally in Picasaweb, these are now in the Google Image Archive and the caption panel has to be opened manually for each image. I apologise for this, blame Google!

More recent albums created in Google Images keep the panel open.

in both cases, move forward or backwards by clicking the right or left arrows on your keyboard. When you have finished viewing, click the back arrow showing top left of the photo panel and this will take you back to the album opening page.

Close it in the normal way by clicking on the "X" top right or click the return arrow top left of the Windows screen to return to the blog, depending on which browser you use.

In Google Chrome you should click on the X and then select the tab for the blog from the windows tabs, in Internet explorer, click on the return arrow top left of the window to return to the blog. I'm afraid I don't know how other browsers such as Firefox vary in their operation.

Once back in the blog, any report can be accessed sequentially from the blog 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.

Monday, 18 October 2021

12 January 2019, Ilton, Somerset. SWOONS Members Open Day – Catching Up. Late Report 8 of 15

Having not been able to get to the SWOONS do in 2018, first one I’d missed for many a year, I was determined to make it for the 13th South West 009 Soc Group open day at Ilton, somewhere west of Yeovil on the Somerset Levels this time, and I’m very pleased that I did because it was another memorable day out amongst friends and the fellow-afflicted NG modelling enthusiasts who had travelled from near and far to take part in the fellowship of the Tardis that is the Merryfield Village Hall and to have first dibs of the year at the wonderful 009 Soc Sales Tables! It’s only a small place, but Geoff Bowyer and his fellow SWOONS members know how to fill it with examples of quality modelling and still find room for a hundred or so to come and enjoy the delights! As ever, Matt and Maria Gicquel travelled from their Devon Railway Centre to lock themselves in the kitchen and provide cakes and of course, hot Oggies, all day. Much appreciation!

Friday, 15 October 2021

01 December 2018, Colehill near Wimborne, Wessex NG Modellers OPen Day - Catching Up, Late Report 7 of 15

This little gathering in the first week of December has become a regular end of year get together with a chance to make some last minute Christmas purchases from the well stocked 009 Soc sales tables, see some great narrow gauge modelling and enjoy like minded fellowship in a totally informal and friendly atmosphere. This was the 7th occasion and, like the previous ones, attracted visitors from near and as far away as the West Midlands as well as those enthusiasts who brought layouts along, notably Jim and Lyn Owers from the Isle of Wight and Bob Vaughan from Watford, just to share the day with modelling friends and colleagues. For a change I managed to overlook taking any photos of the 009 Society sales stand, but I can assure all that it was there! Overall, a splendid pre-Christmas get together was enjoyed!

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

27 October 2018 - Expo Narrow Gauge, Swanley, Catching Up, Late Report 6 of 15

End of October, getting cold and wet, clocks going back to wintertime and it is once again time for ExpoNG! Having not being able to get there for the first time in many years in 2017, I was determined to make it to Swanley this year and I’m glad I did as, not only was it a very good event, but sadly, it was also my last one as I couldn’t get to the next year’s event in 2019 and as it turned out, that was the final ExpoNG for the foreseeable future for a number of reasons, including the, at the time, unforeseen Covid pandemic and lockdowns. ExpoNG might return in the future but many don’t think it will be in the same format as we had all become used to at the White Oak Leisure Centre.

This 2018 event featured two anniversaries – the 35th ExpoNG and the 50th anniversary of the Greenwich & District NG Railway Society, who are the organisers of the show. Fitting then that the Dave Brewer Challenge this year was to be a difficult one, in producing a working layout in a space of only 50cm x 35cm. Eight skilled modellers rose to the challenge and their excellent results are covered in Part 3 of this report.

I would have normally made a report of a large event such as this into 2 Parts, but to make it easier for me to put it together, and hopefully for you to view the photos and captions, I have put it into 3 Parts of approximately 50 photos each. When you have finished viewing one of the parts, click on the main “back arrow” top left of your screen to get back to the blog page and then click on the link to get to the next Part you want to view, or to scroll down to another report. I hope that is clear enough, I’ve no doubt that I will be told quick enough if it isn’t!



Friday, 1 October 2021

14 October 2018, Museum of Transport at the Christchurch MRC Exhibition, Catching Up, Late Report 5 of 15

 After NG South in April, I was unable to attend any further events until later in the year when I learned that Robin Ogden would be bringing his 4mm scale Museum of Transport to the Christchurch MRC exhibition in Bournemouth, which is only about 45 minutes from where I lived. I determined that I had to do whatever it took to get to see it, which I’m pleased to report that I did manage to do so.

I have struggled to find the best way to present this report as much of this splendid layout describes itself very adequately through the images, so I decided that photo captions would be left out unless it seemed necessary to add supplementary information in some cases and that I would as far as possible restrict the words without rambling off into general comments!

Robin made a comprehensive description of the layout in the exhibition programme and I can’t improve on that, so here is the introduction to The Museum of Transport, extracted from Robin Ogden’s own words:

Situated in a coastal town somewhere in England, the former dock area is ideally placed to display the many different aspects of our transport, industrial and maritime heritage.

Railway exhibits are housed in a purpose-built gallery where may be found historic and unusual locomotives, carriages, signals and other artefacts associated with a century and a half of railways in the British Isles. A self-service cafeteria is open in the railway gallery. The building is glass fronted with the roof removed for maximum visibility.

4mm electric tramcars operate on a double track around part of the layout that also includes the road gallery housing an extensive collection of classic motor vehicles and the tramway depot. A miniature railway (based on N gauge) operates around this area and beyond. A diesel railcar or a standard gauge tank locomotive & brake van operates to and from the engine sheds alongside the dockside line, crossing over the two branch docks by a working bascule bridge and a swing bridge. The line runs the entire length of the layout (approximately 20 feet).

In the first dock is moored a freelance passenger steamer, St Olaf and a retired coastal lightship based on the Spurn Light. In the second dock are a steam paddle-tug, a Clyde Puffer and a smaller vessel, whilst at the other end of the layout a dry dock is home to a model of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s former passenger and mail ship, RMS Scillonian.

The front part of the layout offers an area available for varied displays: bus rallies, military vehicle displays, classic vehicle rallies etc as well as home to a scale model RAF Lancaster bomber. A visiting brass band plays a selection of melodies and there is a hot air balloon for visitors to be elevated to 200 (scale) feet to enjoy overall views of the museum.

High time to visit the photo report:

Click HERE to view the Photo Album for this Report

Thursday, 30 September 2021

07 April 2018, Narrow Gauge South, Barton Peverill College, Eastleigh - Catching Up, Late Report 4 of 15

For the 14th biennial NGS, Exhibition Manager Tim Couling and assistants from the Wessex NG Modellers moved from the long term location of Sparsholt College near Winchester to Barton Peverill College in Eastleigh, which offered better access for visitors and a return to the popular large hall style of venue, which had not been available at Sparsholt for a few years. A huge effort by all involved in the organisation resulted in a fantastic show, with no less than 33 layouts and 27 trade, publicity and society stands, covering all scales from Hof to 7¼ in gauge! The 009 Society also held their AGM in the middle of the day while all this was going on.

 So, how to cover a big show like this and provide as reasonable balance as possible has been the challenge. Another challenge was the ghastly green painted walls in the huge main hall, which caused a colour cast challenge which I struggled with for photos showing the whole of layouts, apologies for some of the poorer quality images that resulted and also one of the side rooms was extremely dark which affected overall layout photos even more so. In order to show as much of the show as possible, I’ve split the report into two parts. Access them in the usual way by clicking on the link text below each of the two photos.

 I hope you enjoy the report!


Click HERE to view the Photos for Part 1


Half way through the layouts now! As I reported for both the 2014 and 2016 NG South events, it was quite a challenge for me to fit in an hour or more for the 009 Society AGM and to find sufficient time to get round everything and record everything. I had to shorten my time in front of some of the layouts, but have tried to confine the quick “click and move on” visits to those that we have all seen previously in these reports as far as possible. One layout in this section has been given an extended coverage, which is only fair as it was awarded the “best in show”!

I hope you have enjoyed this report. The next one will be of a visit I made later in the year to see Robin Brogden’s Museum of Transport. If you haven’t seen this layout, it has something of everything in it and I guarantee you will be impressed!

Sunday, 26 September 2021

17 February 2018 Rainford, Merseyside, The Narrow Gauge Show (NG Stan) - Catching Up, Late Report 3 of 15

For the first time, I was unable to start the year off with a visit to Ilton for the SWOONS event in January and with the demise of the sadly missed NG Southwest, it looked as if a barren first part of 2018 was on the agenda. However Stan Williams came to the rescue as far as I was concerned by organising a show at the familiar venue of All Saints parish hall in Rainford, Merseyside, which I think was titled “The Narrow Gauge Show”, but will hereinafter always be known as NG Stan! Very appropriately the show included no less than 6 amongst the 10 layouts present that were either owned by or built by Stan and/or Roger Christian over the years, and poignantly, although I certainly didn’t know it at the time, was that Roger would sadly succumb to long term illness later in the year so from my own perspective at least, it was a timely opportunity to make the long journey from Dorset to Rainford to attend. RIP Roger, you were a true ambassador to the hobby and are very much missed by all who knew you.

Click HERE to view the Photos for this Report

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

02 December 2017, Colehill near Wimborne, Wessex NG Modellers Open Day - Catching Up, Late Report 2 of 15

 For the 6th annual day out in Dorset that Brian Guilmant and members of the Wessex NG Modellers organised, some 150 including participants, support staff and swanners around with camera shoehorned their way into Colehill community hall. As has become a regular end of year get together with a chance to make some last minute Christmas purchases from the well stocked 009 Soc sales tables, see some great narrow gauge modelling and enjoy like minded fellowship in a totally informal and friendly atmosphere, what more could anyone want on a cold Saturday 3 weeks before Christmas! These events are much more fulfilling and enjoyable than the big mainstream exhibitions, full of the same products from Hornby, Bachmann, Grafar and etc with just a couple or so NG layouts of the sort we all like – and at 3 or 4 times the entrance price as well!

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

5 August 2017, Wiltshire Group 009 Society 16th Biennial Members Day and MOMING 17, Pewsey - Catching Up. Late Report 1 of 15

 A Saturday in early August and the year is an odd numbered one, so once again it is time for the biennial Wiltshire Group gathering in Pewsey, this time being the 16th occasion. Some 200 or so like-minded enthusiasts found their way to a village hall in rural Wiltshire from all over the country, including 2 traders who had travelled from over 400 miles away in Scotland, one from Manchester and 2 from Birmingham. Nobody was disappointed as Andy Cundick and the Wiltshire Group team pulled out all the stops as they always do, to ensure that everyone had a splendid day out enjoying top quality modelling as well as an overload of sugar with the famous extra sticky lardy cakes that are a feature of the event!

Monday, 20 September 2021

20 September 2021, It's Been A While! Time to Start Catching Up!

 It has certainly been a while, in fact rather more than that: approx 52 months since the last roving report was posted back in May 2017!

Several reasons for this: family health matters took over my life for a a long time and as a direct result, after posting the Beds & Bucks report from May 2017, the next event that I managed to get to was Pewsey in August of that year. However my rather antiquated and cumbersome photo processing "system" is extremely time intensive and before getting photos, suitably edited, cropped and in a lot of cases due to bad lighting on both layouts and in the halls themselves, quite a lot of tweaking using a very old image software called Paint Shop Pro, the original versions that were made by Jasc Software, not the current Corel produced one of the same name which is far more advanced, but also far less user friendly and simple! 

And then there are the captions! A lot of people don't bother with captions, they just upload their photos and leave it to the viewer to try to work out what layouts and owners etc they are looking at. I like to give at least some clues to what the photos are of, which those who have given feedback previously have always commented favourably about. This all takes time and effort as well, and........ well they never got done, the next event I managed to get to after that also got into the queue and on it went.

A constraint of continuing the blog as it is, is that Google in its wisdom won't let you "insert" blog posts between others, they have to appear sequentially. So, as I have always been running what amounts to a continuing diary, then I didn't want to make postings out of date sequences. The result of this is that the backlog got longer and longer and life matters got heavier and heavier. 4 years later I found myself in a position of being 4 years older, but also 2 major illnesses in the family, one ongoing and one over 2 months in hospital and a 2 year recovery marathon, plus a house move in the middle of the pandemic, and in all that time, admittedly slowed by the covid pandemic stuff, I found that I had actually managed to get the camera out and attend 15 shows, 13 of them in the first 2½ years outstanding - 2017-19, just 1 in 2020 and so far 1 in 2021 with the likelihood that things may start to get rolling again next year, so certainly time to take stock and look at the viability of trying to catch up on lost postings and carrying on into the future. BUT I discovered that in those 15 events I took over 2500 images - many of them not very good images as well, so there has been some intensive work and much time spent in recent weeks going through them and getting them resized down to the standard online 800 x 600 format, ready for sifting down to a reasonable number and then starting the big task of captions!

With most attenders at events seeming to have very smart phones that take wonderful photos just by pointing at the subject, then there may not be much of a need for "roving reports" such as mine any more, only time and feedback will tell on that one.

Anyway, in case it takes a long time (I think it will) to catch up, and I hope it is catch up, not keep up as more events start to reappear in the diary hopefully, I'm starting the ball rolling here with a little taster so that each of the 15 events visited by me since 2017 get a mention, and then the outstanding reports from these can be built as time allows hopefully in the near future and not in another 4 years time!

Here's a brief taster then of the 15 so far "missing" roving reports:

5 August 2017 Pewsey - Wiltshire Group 009 Soc 16th biennial members day and MOMING 17 

14 Layouts plus 7 MOMING layoutsBerger Hall - Bill Corser 09

Unfortunately I was unable to get to ExpoNG in 2017

2 December 2017 Colehill - Wessex NGM Dorset members day
11 Layouts plus a number of small dioramas by Toby Hollins-Jones
Hirson Bellvue - Howard Coulson HO9 (Howard does not recognise "HOe"!)

I was also unable to attend the annual "start of year" SWOONS open day at Ilton in January 2018 so my next outing was all the way to Merseyside to attend:

17 February 2018 Rainford - "Narrow Gauge Stan" - Stan Williams' roundup of North West NG layouts
10 Layouts
Tan yr Allt - Roger Christian 009

7 April 2018 Eastleigh - Narrow Gauge South. A really big show in its new location
36 Layouts
Aldbourne - Adrian Ponting 009

Another long period without being able to get to any shows until:
13 October 2018 - Christchurch MRC exhibition at Bournemouth
Just 1 large Layout covered
Museum of Transport - Robin Ogden 4mm scale

27 October 2018 Swanley - ExpoNG
22 Layouts plus 8 small Dave Brewer Challenge Trophy entrants
Launceston - Richard Holder 009

1 December 2018 Colehill - Dorset 009 Modellers and Wessex NGM open day
14 Layouts
Portewen - Roger Gadsby (RM Railway of the Month March 1992)

12 January 2019 Ilton - SWOONS 13th members open day
13 Layouts
St Petroc Quay - Harry Dawe 009

30 March 2019 Rainford - The NG Show and 009 Society AGM
15 Layouts
Loch Ewe Harbour - David Johnston 009

29 June 2019 Exeter - Exe Model Railway Society MRX - NG layouts
7 NG Layouts
Pontfadog - Toby Hollins-Jones 2mm scale 5mm gauge

12 October 2019 Christchurch MRC exhibition at Bournemouth - NG Layouts
4 NG Layouts
Tarrant Valley Railway - Wimborne Railway Society 009

19 October 2019 Corse & Staunton - M5/M50 NG Modellers Exhibition
10 Layouts
Derwent Road - Bill Flude 09

7 December 2019 Colehill - Dorset 009 Modellers & Wessex NGM open day
11 Layouts
Tansey Bank - Bob Vaughan 009

11 January 2020 Ilton - SWOONS 14th members open day
The last event that I attended before the Covid lockdowns
8 Layouts
Fort Whiting - Charlie Insley 009

7 August 2021 Pewsey - Wiltshire Group 009 Group 18th biennial open day
The first outing for me after Covid public meeting restrictions lifted
10 Layouts
Garreg Wen - Matthew Kean 009

That lot should give me something to get stuck into over the autumn (and hopefully not longer than that - but we'll hope for the best!) - if I manage to get the free time to get on with it! 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

14 May 2017, Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Members Open Day, Barton Le Clay

Sunday the 14 May and NG enthusiasts descended on the village hall at Barton Le Clay from all points of the compass for what has become THE annual late spring narrow gauge model-fest, courtesy of the Beds & Bucks NG Modellers who had pulled out all the stops to make this year's event run as seamlessly as possible following the sudden and premature passing of the Group's founder and previous organiser-in-chief, Mark Howe after a very short illness in January.

Once again it was an excellent day with 14 layouts present, a variety of trade and society stands including of course the 009 Society sales managing to fill a meeting room despite sales stocks being much lower than usual for the time of year. And of course, the renowned refreshments, with not only 5 star bacon rolls, but sausage baps as well and the biggest triple deck victoria cream sponge I've ever seen (naturally there is a photo included of this!).

Congratulations are in order to Brian Key, who took up the mantle of exhibition manager at short notice and indeed to the whole group who chipped in to ensure that not only did the event go ahead, but also that it went ahead in a very well organised way indeed. Thanks to you all. Numbers were slightly down on previous years, let’s hope that next year and beyond they are back up to and even higher than the 200+ that previously attended, because this really is a high quality narrow gauge modelling event held in a good location and in an ideally central part of the country for travelling to from all parts of it.

Monday, 22 May 2017

01 April 2017, The Narrow Gauge Show and 009 Society AGM, Rainford, Merseyside

This year was the 4th Rainford 009 Society AGM and the third in sequence biennially, so one can safely say that it has “become of age” as a fixture and each event sees new initiatives from Stan Williams and his hard working team.

Stan started publicising the event on the ngrm-online forum almost as soon as the 2016 AGM at Sparsholt in Hampshire had completed and regular, sometimes daily (!), exhortations about how the 2017 show was to be THE northern NG show continued throughout 2016 and into this year!

Did he achieve his aim? Well, the regular Parish Hall remained as the main venue, but instead of the small Guide and Scout halls across the road 200 yards away, this time they were replaced by a much larger venue in the form of the Village Hall a further 100 yards to walk, but on the same side of the road! I don’t think I’ve ever met a small village with so many halls in it before, and the village hall was a good sized venue in an impressive building that would make a very appropriate Municipal Town Hall in many fairly large boroughs that I can think of!

Both of these venues were filled to capacity with 15 traders/societies counted and 20 layouts – as well as refreshments in both halls. I think that justifies that Stan’s aspirations were met don’t you?

The main challenge for me with my roving reporter hat on was trying to fit everything into a very limited time window exacerbated by the 300 yard dash through the rain between the two halls and having take a pause for over an hour for the 009 Society AGM. Therefore I felt that I had to largely omit trying to photograph the non layout aspect such as traders, societies and also didn’t manage a team photo of the important ladies refreshments service teams – although to keep those who depend on it more than even photos of the latest forthcoming 009 ready to run items, an archive record of the CAKES! Let’s get on with it then, I hope you enjoy this report of a fine day.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

18 February 2017 - Narrow Gauge South West, Shepton Mallet

18th February saw the 25th NG South West at Shepton Mallet, a bittersweet event because it was also the final one. The Small & Delightful Group, who have organised all 25 of the annual shows decided that it was time to call a halt, but to mark the occasion, they set out to lay on the biggest all NG model railway show that there has ever been. When plans were revealed that they were hoping to get 75 layouts, many said it couldn't be done. Well it certainly did get done and what a selection of most of the best layouts around was gathered together and somehow accommodated in every available room in the school! A fantastic day that will not be forgotten by all 1000+ who attended and around 300 who participated in one way or other. It will probably never be matched in our lifetimes.

Many have posted online tributes to Howard Martin and his colleagues of the Small & Delightful Group since the event and I am happy to add my own appreciation for the work they have done, through many trials and tribulations over the years, including some very serious health issues amongst members, but the show has always gone on and has always been regarded by many (myself included) as the best of all the specialist annual NG shows, for a number of reasons. I will certainly miss the annual February visit to Shepton Mallet. Thanks guys.

I can do no better than to point everyone towards the super tribute to Howard and NG Southwest that Paul Martin (of EDM Models) has published on his own website at: http://www.ngtrains.com/blog/its-all-this-mans-fault/

Now, to business – well, finding somewhere to start is a reasonable idea! The programme, as it always has been for NG South West, was actually quite different from what was there on the day, but with roving reporting perseverance I arrived (VERY) early and within an hour of two had unravelled everything sufficiently to feel that my report is about as accurate as it can be! There weren’t quite 75 actual layouts, although if you count small dioramas and suchlike plus the ones on society and trade stands (which many shows do) then the figure of 75 was easily exceeded. For the statisticians there were 69 “proper” layouts on show, 14 trade stands and 10 Societies/Associations,

I read one report on one of the model railway internet forums that “in order to fit in all these layouts, there was naturally a distinct reduction in the normal numbers of traders”. I also read in NG World magazine that “you can’t fit this many layouts into a hall unless most of them are micro models, so apart from half a dozen, this would be an accurate description”. Really? I think both the above reports must have been written by people who attended a different venue on the day!. Trawl your way through my own photos here and I think you will agree that the truth of the matter was very different indeed! ALL the usual traders and societies that have attended in recent years were there except for one noted and MOST of the layouts were at least “normal size” for NG Layouts, with a very good number being VERY large – eg Pempoul, Watt Estate, Charmouth/Bridport Town and the Tarrant Valley all of which are around 30ft or more in length.

So, let’s have a look at what some of you missed and what over 1000 visitors and probably about 300 participants one way or another enjoyed. I was told that in order to photograph all the layouts I could only allow myself about 5 minutes maximum at each layout, not counting refreshment and natural breaks, or delays caused by crowds and etc, so it would be “impossible to do”. I always try to rise to a challenge and am confident that I met it successfully, although I have to concede that rushing around crowded rooms for 6 hours did mean that it was very much a matter of quantity rather than quality with regards to the photos and I have had to reduce the number of photos of each layout to 3 or 4 each and split it all up into no less than 4 sections to try to live with the constraints of Google Images. There’s still nearly 300 snaps in this album! Anyway, enough of the waffle, let’s get to the photos, I hope you enjoy your visit to the final NG South West and that the effort to try to create something of a “guided tour” of this memorable day, has been worth it.

Enjoy! As always, there are bound to be loads of errors in the captions, I would very much appreciate being corrected where these errors are noted so that, hopefully, we end up with an accurate record of this historic show.





Thursday, 16 February 2017

14 January 2017 - SWOONS Members Open Day, Ilton, Somerset

2017 got itself off to the now traditional great narrow gauge start to the year with the 11th annual South West 009 Society’s (SWOONS) members open day in the Merryfield Hall at Ilton, between Yeovil and Taunton in Somerset. Matt and Maria Cicquel as usual brought their famous pasties from their Devon Railway Centre as well as lots of other culinary goodies, and of course the 009 Society sales team took the full range of goods for the discerning early year bargain hunters. John Sutton came all the way from Redditch with his popular book stall, Steve Fulljames travelled some 150 miles from East Sussex with Narrow Planet and a new trading attender in the form of Attwood Aggregates ballast and scenic dust also attended. As always, a great day amongst like minded friends and narrow gauge enthusiasts. Huge appreciation to Geoff Bowyer and the SWOONS team for a really excellent day!

31 December 2016 - Garry’s Railcars – 2016 bonus album!

Almost everyone who is familiar with 009 will either know, or know of, Garry Whiting. One of the 15 founder members of the 009 Society in 1973, twice chairman and a very familiar face at just about every narrow gauge modelling show and regional ng modelling group members and open days throughout the country, either working with the Society sales team or manning (and often providing most of the models) a Society publicity display case. I have known Garry as a Society colleague and very good friend for some 35 years, since the early 1980’s and have always been impressed by his very extensive range of home built, detailed Windle models and more recently Japanese imports and for a very long time have been meaning to try to gather together photos I’ve taken over the past 20 years since digital cameras came into my life. I haven’t quite managed to put a set together covering everything yet, maybe one of these days, but have found an attractive and eclectic variety of railcars that have either been built by or detailed by Garry over the past 6 or 7 years which I think may be of interest to all, so as an “extra” to end one year and start the next, here are some of Garry’s railcars!

03 December 2016 - Dorset Narrow Gauge open day, Colehill, near Wimborne

This was the 5th of these super little end of year events that Brian Guilmant and members of the Wessex NG Modellers have put on, This time there was a challenge due to the hall heating breaking down a couple of days before the event, but an industrial blower heater and bacon rolls soon got the icicles off the early birds and the hall was nicely warmed up by the time the first visitors came through the door. Another splendid day with all that is best in this type of event - friendly, informal, good layouts, good refreshments and great to meet up with many people who had travelled considerable distances in some cases to join in the fun. Simon Hargraves came 130 miles from Hastings by train and suffered weekend signal delays etc etc, making for a 6 hour journey - 2 hours longer than it took him to get to Merseyside the week before! 

29 October 2016 - Expo Narrow Gauge, Swanley

Autumn is upon us, weather has turned, the clocks are going back to herald the months of dark miserable evenings, but Expong is with us to fortify ourselves with motivation and inspiration over the winter! Dark rumours of the impending demise of Expong as we know it were put to bed and the goodly number of enthusiasts from near, far and very far in some cases got down to enjoying all that was presented for their delight and delectation. The usual recipe of “hunt the layouts” amongst the trade stands in the main hall revealed some gems amongst the 15 layouts tucked away amidst 3 times that number of trade and association/society stands. Huge supplement however in the best supported Dave Brewer Challenge entries yet seen with no less than 18 “tuning fork” little layouts – one point and 3 sidings that were presented. Another great day was had by all!

Click Here to View the Photo Album for this Report

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

24 September 2016, Small & Delightful Group Open day, Compton Dundon

Most narrow gauge modellers are familiar with Narrow Gauge South West, the annual show in Shepton Mallet that kicks the winter blues away every February and in many people’s opinions, is the best annual show of them all. Not a lot of people however are very familiar with the small but dedicated band of mainly North Somerset based modellers called the Small & Delightful Railway Group who have organised NGSW for many years. Every 2 years they get together and have their own opportunity to play trains and generally enjoy themselves with an open day held at the village hall in Compton Dundon, a few miles south of Street. 16 layouts (hey, that’s one more than they have at ExpoNG this year!), a good venue, lots of informal friendly fellowship and some outstanding refreshments from the ladies of the Glastonbury Lions. Some may not be aware yet that next year (2017) will be the last NG South West, but I’ve been assured that the S&D Group will carry on and will still be holding their super open day every other year – 2018 in the diary already!

When you click the link above, you will be taken to the album in Google Images, and will see the title plus small versions of the images. Click on the first image and it will open. If you cannot see a caption to the right of the image, click the "i" button which is on the line of symbols above the image. This will open the caption window, which will stay open through the album as you view the images by clicking the right arrow on the lower right of your keyboard, between the ctrl key of the main keyset and the number keys.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

13 August 2016, Narrow Gauge Midlands, Water Orton

On the road again, this time to a small community hall in Water Orton, in the eastern outskirts of Birmingham, just off the M42/M6 junction and a few miles north of the NEC. The reason? Simple really, it was time again for the biennial 009 Society West Midlands Group open day, otherwise known as Narrow Gauge Midlands and an event not to be missed if you can possibly help it, as around 150 other like-minded enthusiasts attested as I joined “the gang” for another warm and friendly day amongst top quality people and models, refreshed by the customary 5 star service from the renowned Webb Family and friends Catering Corps who raised £270 during the day for the Woodland Trust. The West Midlands Group are an active and enthusiastic group of narrow gauge modellers who always provide a good presentation at the many events in the that they provide a presence and 009 Society publicity. Great to see them on home territory with their own and invited friends layouts.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first album I have created using Google Images, which the nice people at Google have decided to replace the perfectly serviceable and user friendly Picasa Web Albums with, as apparently this is the way forward. To say it was not very easy is an understatement. Uploading the album was very straightforward, trouble is that no matter how I tried, the photos would not upload in the order that I wanted them to, so in the end, I was reduced to manually re-ordering each one of the 101 photos in this album! Swear box filled up rapidly and it took ages. Got there in the end, but then had to add the captions! In Picasa Web, there is/was a facility to add captions to the album and you simply copy and paste each caption from a Word document against each photo number that comes up in this facility. With Google Images, I had to open each photo and insert the caption, then move to the next photo and do it again and so on. It seems that the choices are to persevere with albums and order the photos in this way, or to upload each  photo to a new album individually which I will probably try for the next one.

Anyway, that's my excuse for the longer than desired delay for this album.

Navigating the album: When you "click to view" you will/should be taken to the album which will start off with the opening text, same as the one in this blog entry, then you will see the thumbnails of the photos. Start with the first one by left-clicking it and it should open up with the caption showing in a pane to the right of the photo. If it is not there, then click on the little "i" button top right and this will open the info pane. To move to the next photo, simply press the right arrow key on your keyboard, the one between the letters and the number pad to the right of the space and right hand ctrl etc keys!

I hope you find the album satisfactory and the navigation works as described above.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Here’s One That Nearly Got Away! 009 Society Sales Open Day at Brian Guilmant’s 31 July 2010

Whilst searching for something or other in a rarely visited corner of my document e-folders I came across a small set of photos recording an ambitious “sales open day” that the then 009 Society Sales Officer (retired April 2016 but elected as Chairman same day!) had organised at his own home in Colehill, Dorset. I believe the domestic authorities were assured that this would just mean opening the garage up where the sales stock was kept “for anyone who wished to visit”. In reality of course it resulted in nearly every ground floor room in the house being full of sales stock and bargain hunters, visitors with layouts and models and as ever, a great time was had by all! I even think that Brian was forgiven by “management” for the invasion of his home!

This little report also provides a good excuse to test the new “after Picasaweb” means of linking albums to the blog.

Well we nearly got there, but not quite! 

The new link I have put in should take you to the album that is now in Google Photos, however there is no "front page" and at first sight no captions or photos number. But if you click the "i" button this will drop down to show both the number and the caption eg "001 waffle waffle". When I tried it, I maximised the window, kept the drop down box open and scrolled to the next photo or the previous one by pressing the right or left arrow on the bottom right of the keyboard where there are 4 arrows, (not the ones in the numerical keypad). Worked for me.

Still trying to find a better solution.

Friday, 5 August 2016

07 August 2016, Picasaweb RIP

"IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT" I thought EVERYBODY was familiar with this philosophy (well, Microsoft excepted perhaps) but...................

Thanks Google! Due to some imbecilic decisions made within the Google Ivory Towers, I discovered on 6 August, AFTER I had spent hours preparing and uploading my delayed report on the Oxfordshire NG Modellers open day event at Steventon, that although Google had put out notices a while ago that they were going to stop supporting Picasaweb, they arbitrarily and without definite notice, pulled the plugs and blocked access to Picasaweb at around 1800 Hours on Friday 6 August - sods law perhaps in that I uploaded my newest report at around 1730 and as is normal, I had done the insertion of the captions etc online, checked as far as possible for errors and only then did I attempt to go "public" to allow unrestricted viewing to discover that all access had been blocked.


I have been trying to find a workaround for this but I'm afraid that the apparently all singing and dancing Google Images replacement is just not the same as Picasaweb and many of the features that I have been building in to provide easy access for those who like to visit my photo albums have been removed from the "improved" new service.

As at least a temporary fix I think I have found a way to maintain public viewing on the existing blog postings (there are around 100 albums here with up to 200 or so photos in some of them) via the link in the blog that will take you to the Google Archive where they have put all my Picasaweb albums. 

This means that if you press the "Click Here to View the Photo Album for this Report" link you will now be taken to a Google Archive which shows decent sized thumbnails for the images in the album. Click any of these and they will open up and show forward and back arrows to navigate through the album.

There are captions in a very small font size below the photo, but only two lines of text will show. If I have made a longer caption you can access the full caption, or any of them in a more readable format by clicking on the "i" button top right which will open a drop down box with the caption on it. You have to close this box to be able to move on to the next image.

When you have finished viewing, click the left arrow top left of the pane and this will take you back to the album title page with all the thumbnails. Click on the back arrow top left on the menu bar and this will take you back to the blogsite.

I have now updated the links on all 100 or so of the photo reports in this blog, so you should be able to access any of them as previously.

I have now found out how to edit captions but have not yet figured out how to create a new blog posting and link it to an album of photo images now that Picasaweb has gone. The acid test for this will be when it is time to produce my next report!

Please bear with me on this whilst I seek solutions and also please join me in cursing the CRETIN who dreamed up this "improvement to the Google service"


Amended and toned down from the original rant, 8 August 2016.

25 June 2016, Oxfordshire NG Railway Modellers Open Day, Steventon

The third open day held by the Oxfordshire Narrow Gauge Railway Modellers was again held in the excellent village hall at Steventon, not very far from Wantage, which light railway enthusiasts will be very familiar with and Didcot, where those who have a weakness for the Great Western (Heresy) Railway feel very much at home. Despite a couple of late cancellations of layouts there was still a very good selection of layouts present, specialist traders and of course splendid refreshments, but as they used to say in the Olde Tyme Music Hall – Chiefly, Yourselves! All the right buttons pressed by the organising team and another very friendly, informal and enjoyable day out as a result! As I’ve often remarked before, if you haven’t yet been to one of these village hall specialist narrow gauge modelling group open days then you really must, they are the very essence of the hobby.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

15 May 2016, Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Members Open Day, Barton Le Clay

Doesn’t time fly! It seems like only last week that I attended the first Beds & Bucks Group members day, a very small event compared to what it has now grown to and already I find myself reporting the 11th of these annual Sunday junkets in a splendid large village hall just a few miles to the north of Luton! Once again, Mark and Terri Howe laid on a feast of trains (Mark’s dept) and refreshments (Terri’s dept) which was attended by around 200+ NG modelling enthusiasts who came from all points of the compass around the country to take part in or simply to enjoy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this event is way up amongst the very best one day events of the type and really should be in everyone’s diary as a “priority, not to be missed” if it is at all possible and practicable to get there


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

09 April 2016, Narrow Gauge South, Sparsholt College, Winchester

PART 1: “The best NG show I’ve been to” – not my words but something I read on one of the internet forums and a very worthy compliment indeed to Tim Couling, exhibition manager/organiser for this 13th biennial NGS at Sparsholt College near Winchester, Alan Rolfe, retiring exhibition manager who worked tirelessly in support and all the members of the Wessex NG Modellers who played a part in laying on another fantastic selection of all that is best in NG modelling for a “grand day out” amongst like minded friends and visitors. Those who like to keep count would have spotted no less than 29 narrow gauge layouts amongst the 51 stands present, which included most of the specialist traders for this end of the hobby and a number of societies, including full participation from both the 009 Society and the 7mm NG Association publicity and sales operations. Oh yes, there was the 009 Society AGM as well!

PART 2: Still only around half way through our tour of the diverse selection of entertaining layouts that Exhibition Manager Tim Couling had invited from near and far and, just as I reported for the 2014 event, what with an hour and a half being taken out of the day for the 009 Society AGM, along with many others who attended, I found it quite a challenge to get round everything allowing sufficient time to enjoy all that I saw and indeed, include a photo record of everything. I did very nearly miss a couple of layouts but, I am as confident as I can be that I did at least get a glimpse, even if only literally a couple of photos in some cases, of every layout that attended. Please don’t send hatemail if you discover that I didn’t, as I can’t turn the clock back and do it all again!

I hope you have enjoyed this extended album where I have tried to provide something of the flavour of this large biennial narrow gauge model show. My next report will be from the annual Beds & Bucks Narrow Gauge Modellers Group open day at Barton Le Clay on 15 May 2016.