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.

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.