I wouldn’t have normally considered driving nearly 100 miles each way to visit a small village hall sized model railway exhibition, however when I learned that Toby Hollins-Jones was attending with a new “miniature-miniature” railway in 005 scale (yes – 00 scale, 5mm gauge track), then, having known Toby and his outstanding modelling skill, since first meeting him at a Wessex NGM event when he was about 11, or maybe even younger, I was determined to try to get to this little show to see what delights he has come up with this time, even if 200 mile round trips by car at the post-Covid cost of living crisis we are all in at present, and the still astronomical price of fuel acts as an ongoing restriction to how far one can afford to travel!
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.
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.
Thursday 20 July 2023
Sunday 16 July 2023
For the benefit of those who may not be aware, the “Small & Delightful Group” (S&D Group) is a small band of modellers who generally hail from the area around Shepton Mallet and Glastonbury in Somerset, and for 25 years between 1992 and 2017 organised and ran the great and much missed Narrow Gauge Southwest in Shepton Mallet annually in February. Whilst NGSW has been retired for similar reasons that other large specialist shows have fallen by the wayside – ageing group of organisers, health issues, growing uncertainty regarding access to the venue etc, the group members continue to enjoy and participate in the hobby, and for some years they have also put together a biennial gathering in the village of Compton Dundon, so that they can enjoy meeting up and showing their own layouts, as well as invited ones, plus of course creating an access for visitors to the famously superb cakes and refreshments provided by the Glastonbury Lions Ladies!
Very poignant as it turned out, because two very well known figures in the narrow gauge model railway hobby, Howard Martin and Rod Allcock both attended and, although it wasn’t known then, this was to be the last time that I met either of them, as they both sadly passed away in early 2023. Both Howard and Rod are much missed by the great number of people who knew them.
LATE NEWS: 16 July 2023 edit: I have just learned that Barrie Baker, a close friend of Howard’s, has announced that it is hoped to put on a special show at Compton Dundon in February 2024 as a fitting “Bye Howard” event and he hopes that a large number of modellers will be able to take part. Within 24 hours of seeing this announcement in NGRM-Online, I read that there were already 24 layout owners committed to come to what will be a superb day out and a fitting memorial. Watch out for further announcements online and hopefully in the model railway press and I certainly have it in my own diary as a fixture not to be missed!
Barrie Baker (left) and the late Howard Martin with Howard's famous (or infamous!) NG Southwest exhibition manager's 10 inches to the foot ruler
Saturday 15 July 2023
Good to see things starting to return after the long Covid lockdown months and my next outing was 2 months after NG South to Steventon in Oxfordshire for the Group’s open day, just like NG South, 4 years after the last one was held in 2018.
It was also very good to find that the Oxfordshire Group had taken the trouble to produce a show guide, it makes things much easier for me and indeed for everyone who has attended, to have some layout descriptions and notes to help us remember much later on what the event was like, what a layout might be called and whose trainset it was and all that!
For the previous 2 years, the Group has been very busy creating and developing their Group Modular Layout and this event has been their first chance as far as I know, to present it to the public. Naturally the result of their endeavours will be revealed in this report, as well as a good number of invited visiting layouts. Unfortunately a late cancellation of Richard Holder’s splendid little layout Woodbury Wharf due to a positive Covid test left a big gap to be filled, but at the 11th hour, this was filled by Malcolm Harrison with his Himalaya & Darjeeling 009 layout Achalraj.
As it always is, an excellent day out was had, well worth the journey for me and many others, some of whom travelled long distances and renew acquaintances with friends and colleagues in the hobby. I hope you enjoy my photo report of the day and, as with other reports recently, apologies for the long delay after the event before I have been able to get it done. I live in hope of catching up to date – sometime!
Saturday 8 July 2023
As Wessex NGM Exhibition Manager for NG South said in the Complimentary Show Guide: "Welcome Back"! 4 long years since the last Biennial NGS was held in 2018, and coming out of the Covid Lockdowns, it was a huge challenge to not only put on a great show and to round up top class layouts, but also to convince a nervous population that it was now safe to attend a big show like this. Although numbers were not surprisingly a bit short of target, there were still enough enthusiasts prepared to travel and come to the show to make it a very worthwhile and viable reward for the enormous amount of effort put in by Tim Couling and his small team of volunteers.
In my introduction text to the report on the last NG South, back in pre-lockdown 2018, I referred to it as the 14th biennial Narrow Gauge South so I started my first draft for this report as a welcome to the 15th NGS. A bit of a surprise therefore to find in the show guide for the next NGS, ie this one in 2022(!) that it started with a welcome to "the 20th" NGS. Not to worry, one of us is 6 shows out of sync, and I'm sure that history will determine who got it right, but it doesn't really matter, as the main thing is to celebrate that it has returned, despite the restrictions that we have all had to bear during the Covid crisis period!
NGS has been run every 2 years (except for 2020!) since 1982 and is now the largest and longest-running specialist narrow gauge model railway show in the UK. Indeed, since the retirements of Expo NG and NG Southwest it can be said that it is one of only two of these large events left - good to see that NG North is still going to continue, following the tragic loss of Andrew Kirkby.
So, on with the show as they say, and how to present the best representation that I can of this momentous occasion! As with previous large reports, and in order to cover as much of the show as possible, I have decided to split the report into no less than 4 parts. Access them in the usual way by clicking on the link text under each of the 4 photos below to open up individual albums for them.