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 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! .

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 photo album plus captions for that report. The link will take you to the front page of the Google 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. 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. 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.

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!