Alresford Festival of
Toy Trains


A report by Bob Leggett the show organiser

Pictures Dave McCarthy

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Sat 26th June 2010

As most people remarked-‘The Sun always shines for the Alresford show’. Although not strictly correct we were blessed with a superb day, clear in morning and late afternoon and a few clouds during the day.

People travelled from far and wide to visit, exhibit or trade at the show and most had a good time.

As you arrive the courtyard is already busy ,a large LGB layout by Richard Precious is on display with a superb collection of locos and stock operated by radio control.

A Swiss Crocodile engine was doing it’s duty as I passed by eating my burger, from the Alresford Rotary BBQ and Ale from Itchen Valley Brewery .

Three traders were also set up in the Courtyard including the Tallylyn Preservation Society.

In the morning Hampshire Youth Band practice in the Hub just off the courtyard. So for those not prepared to go for the early entry waiting was no hardship. In the afternoon ‘ Watch Out’ a blues rock band played for over 2 hours with a selection of blues and rock music from the 60’s and 70’s

The Main Hall off the courtyard is where the smaller layouts are and as we enter Rod Hannah and Tony Stanford manned the TCS Information Stand.

As usual I try and change a few things each year so as not to be too samey. The first layout was by David and Judith Holmes and was an LMS , LNER themed Trix layout . There was a lovely stock of locos and an  early terminus station plus plenty of running.

Alongside Dave and Karen White with help from Steve Smith had set up an excellent Tri-ang c1964-67 layout with Minic Motorway , Model Land and Arkitex.

What delighted visitors were the vehicles stopping for the trains. This was not always evident when people first viewed the layout and you see the reaction on their faces when they realise what is happening .

Roy Savage and his soon to be wife Katya was displaying Tri-ang TT. Roy had rebuilt the layout and as I passed a continental and BR Jinty were running round fast to generate smoke!. Also on show (and I insisted Roy ran it while I was there) was the Kay’s Golden Merchant Navy and three coaches.

Chris Cheney and Des  from Chichester Lions had a neat Dublo 3 rail layout for the public to operate and play with the accessories such as the TPO and any donations were given to The  Leonard Cheshire Disability charity.

The Chiltern Hills Vintage group had two layouts. Dave Jarvis and Derek Smith were operating their superb Dublo 2 rail layout with plenty of neverwazzas and Russell Campbell Grieve and Ron Macaskie operated Russell’s Dublo 3 rail layout .

Both layouts are a credit to the group and were much admired and photographed.

Bob Boekhout and Malcolm Pugh took Tri-ang Series 3 to the extremes of operational limits with an outstanding 18’ x 5’ layout. It was a real treat for Tri-ang fans.


Bob and Malcolm were able to set up large stations and  run long trains . It was probably the largest ever series 3 layout exhibited privately.

Peter Corish and eight friends from the Brickish Association (Adult Lego Collectors Club) had set up a fantastic 18’ by 6’ LEGO layout with a magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct and various other bridges including a full LEGO bridge between two tables.

There were also plenty of LEGO buildings and animals. The stock running was a mix of 1970’s –modern LEGO. I particularly liked the Underground set.

In front of the Stage Steve Knight and Marcus and set up a Kitmaster display with an example of all their railway kits made up.

The Beyer –Garratt was one that took my eye.

Also in the hall was Neil Smith with his latest Tri-ang replica models including a working five car Brighton Belle and  Sydney Surburban baggage car. The Belle looked great with superb front mouldings and I can’t wait to see the finished product.The Sydney car was in finished condition and looked great.

On the stage Nick Gillman, Ray Jones  and John were operating Nick’s Tri-ang Ectentrica layout. Really a chance to play with all of Tri-ang’s wonderful accessories including a couple of giraffe cars and a Satellite Set with a revolving Radar on the blue truck. They had lots of fun all day and so did the many visitors.

In the corner a small Brio set kept the little ones happy. Most of the stage was covered by TOMY. Gary and Pauline Williams with help from their children and parents had a wonderful Tomy layout with at least 14 different trains, vehicles running at once. It was a child’s delight and many would not budge when there parents wanted to move on.

Bob Leggett supplied a layout with super 4 track and Hornby stock for the public to run. It was really surprising how apprehensive the kids were in operating the train and even how little some of their parents know. It seems some kids go straight from the dummy to the computer game!

The last display on the stage was another new exhibit. John Chandler with a couple of friends showed a layout in T gauge on a loo seat! T gauge is smaller than Z and quite amazing to look at. The layout had full scenery and John was surprised at the interest in this gauge which I believe is the smallest working toy train in the world. It was too small for me, however one has to admire the engineering.

In the sports hall are all the larger layouts and the first one we view is Ashley Barton’s amazing Lima O gauge layout. Why amazing –well Ashley has made a large village from card in O using N and OO kits that he has scanned and blown up.

The results are ‘amazing’, the pick of the bunch was the Church. Stock running included several 3f’s and Southern suburbans in Network South East colours. This was the first time for Lima O gauge at Alresford however I believe the layout will be at Sandy.

John Hollands with help from Jack Pieterbroek and Colin Bailey had set up a 10’x 4’ double track for clockwork and Battery Hornby MO, Chad Valley, Mettoy and Faller. A lovely town scene with tin shops and Dinky vehicles made this a popular layout that brought back many memories of clockwork trains at Christmas

Howard Starkeddle with great help from fellow member of the HRCA had set up a 24’ x10’ Hornby O gauge layout with ACE and Darstaad stock also running.

This year Howard had arranged a variety of Bayko buildings as lineside features including stations, engine sheds, signal boxes and many more. Mike Allen made the layout fully lighted and my thanks to all the others who helped set up the layout and run their stock.

One of my favorites in this hall was Bryan Pentland who knows I have a soft spot for monorails. Bryan is not content with a standard monorail so he expanded the height of a Disney World monorail from 4 inches to 20 inches and halfway up added a hanging monorail using Japanese tinplate stock.

With cable cars, windmills and a tower plus a tinplate trolley bus set this was truly a superb piece of engineering!

In the corner the John Dickens and Owen Roberts and other members from the Bowman circle were running their stock on a larger layout and enjoying the longer runs and smoother track. As I was passing I was taken by Mike Swains NBR Atlantic resplendent in a bright Mustard livery. This was converted by Mike from a Bassett Lowke Enterprise and looked very majestic as she glided round.

In the other corner Adam Heely with help from Bob Boorman had another new exhibit.

A very attractive French Hornby O gauge layout. The stations on the layout are very appealing and I do like the Tinplate Dijon building. This was a very welcome return to the show and it was interesting contrasting the British and French systems.

Hidden amongst the traders was Clive Parker with his very neat Trix layout with a Southern theme.

There were 90 sales tables over the two halls and outside, speaking to several it was clear that the economic climate has had an effect on our hobby, however those traders who reduced prices did sell well and as usual some had the right stock on the day to tempt the visitors.

Over 700 came to the show including families.

I would like to thank the Alresford Branch of the Save the Children society for manning the doors all day, Four Marks Scouts for operating the car parking and Refreshments and also selling raffle tickets. It is hoped that approx £1500 will be raised for these groups as well as Leonard Cheshire Disability that receive 50p from each entry.

For those who came, many thanks.

The provisional date for next year is 25th June although that may change.

Bob Leggett, Show Organiser

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