Alresford Festival of
Toy Trains

Report by Bob Leggett
Pictures Dave McCarthy
Click on pictures for full size images

22nd Alresford Festival of Toy Trains


Despite overnight rain, Saturday was perfect weather for a Train show, cloudy with sunny intervals which ensured a bumper crowd who enjoyed the huge variety of layouts, displays and sales tables.


Early Birds turned up at 9am trying to find that elusive item or bargain in the Sales Hall.

 Those who waited for the official opening at 11am were able to enjoy the outside LGB Layout by Richard Pretious with help from Dennis Stevens with several Swiss outline locomotives as well as Kevin Kidneys’ remote control live steam Roundhouse Wild West locomotive making the small incline with ease.


The Assembly Hall has the smaller gauges and the left side exhibits were all new this year.

David Lyon had his 6’ x 4’ Tri-ang TT Layout, fixed on four boards including a high level circuit, the layout operated well all day.


Next we have today’s latest TV Star, Peppa Pig who was on his Grandads Train on Rodney Hodge’s ‘Hawkins Halt’ layout. Rodney had a scenic layout full of popular items that thrilled the young and entertained the older brigade.


Roger and Barbara Burnish are regulars on the circuit however this was their first trip to Alresford and they were running Hornby Dublo 3-Rail in a scenic setting. What I enjoyed most was the busy scene around the station with Dublo Dinky vehicles and Master Models.


Nigel Parker with his wife had a very interesting Matchbox Motorways M2 figure of eight in the centre of a Tri-ang Series 3 circuit. The Motorway set ran beautifully all day and amazed many visitors who had never seen one of these. They look great with 00 Gauge and hopefully we may see more of these in the future. It was mesmerising watching the vehicles move around.


In front of the stage Ian Redman and family had 13 N Gauge layouts, in suitcases, there was something for everyone, and one of the favourites was a Lego layout although I quite liked the BR blue DMU.


Along side Steve Knight and Marcus had their popular Kitmaster Display and Steve was selling a variety of items including Playcraft.


In the middle of the hall there were two 24’ long layouts. Les Martin, Neil Smith, Dave White, Neil Bowsher and Paul Rees brought together their particular interests to create a wonderful Tri-ang 00 Gauge Transcontinental layout. Neil Bowsher set up two Minic Motorway sections, Neil Smith had replicated the Airfix Monte Carlo Mountains to form the ‘Rockies’ and watching the TC Trains pass through was stunning. There was also an airport and Model Land and Arkitex in abundance.


Ron McCaskie and Dennis Smith with fellow members of the Chiltern Group were running their large Hornby Dublo 2-Rail layout with Dublo and Wrenn stock as well as neverwazzas. I love watching the trains come through the Canopy Station and also noticed a Dublo ‘Deltic’ awaiting its next turn in the siding.


On the far side of the hall Peter Corish and members of the Brickish Association had 36’ of Lego Wonderland. Several circuits of Lego Trains with one leading to a large Sea Freight Terminal, also a shunter did admirable work all day collecting and delivering coloured balls from each end of a very complicated conveyouring system. A real treat for the young was a pit full of green Lego which visitors able to play with to their hearts content.



On the stage Nick Gillman with help from John Bruce had Nick’s now completed Tri-ang Standard track layout which has been beautifully scenictise. Nick had spent a considerable time on the farm and street scenes and the standard track did not look out of place. Nick also showed delight in running two early Tri-ang locos for the first time and also had a plunger Princess running round smoothly. As I passed a black Diesel Shunter was pulling a large train of cable drum wagons.


 Alongside yours truly had set up a quantity of Lone Star 000 push-a-long trains and accessories and a fixed Brio layout for young visitors to enjoy. Most of the day I spotted youngsters enjoying being able to touch and play with the trains. Four Marks Scouts were running a Hornby 00 Gauge layout made by Hornby with first series Skaledale buildings.


 The centre of the stage was taken over by Track Party, who set up a huge Tomy layout on four stage blocks. This was a popular attraction with no less than thirteen trains running at once. The central elevated section had ten separate circuits.


The Larger layouts and Sales Tables are in the Sports Hall. On the left Will Temple had co-ordinated the Bowman group who ran Bowman and other makers live steam locomotives all day. Expertly arranged there were no gaps in running and I was impressed with a Bassett Loke Mogul running at full speed with flames clearly visible under the boiler.


Bryan Pentland was enjoying running trains before he organises the TCS Summer Show in July. Bryan as usual had Monorails and elevated track. I was also impressed by his large Ubilda Tin Castle which had Mettoy Spamcan passing as I was there, earlier a Mickey Mouse Circus Train with Mickey stoking the fire had been running round.


Andrew Smart and members of the Oak Lodge School Railway Club had two layouts. Andrew had recently acquired a clockwork layout in a box with wooden station and yard building, adding more buildings including a neat Canopy station, he was able to set up a very impressive layout. Their other layout was Tri-ang Big Big with set box displays. A neat circuit had been made and ran well all day.


Howard Starr-Keddle mustered the HRCA Mortimer group to put on another excellent Hornby O Gauge layout with lighting by Mike Allen. I was also very impressed with the Spot On buildings and very rare Manor House courtyard which I had not seen before. All ages of Hornby was running with modern ACE and Darstead also on show.


A big thank you to John and Briony Hollnads who stepped in with their layout of Clockwork and Battery O gauge (they were original going to help on another layout that had to be cancelled) As I was passing a Hatchette 4-wheel Pantograph locomotive was running on battery power using an ETS chassis. A nice town using collectors tin was greatly admired.


Adam Heeley with help from Bob Boorman had Lionel and American Flyer running on 12’ x 6’ tables. This was again a very impressive layout. I particularly liked the Lionel Budd Railcars; a Marx Railcar was also doing sterling work.


Hidden amongst the Trix traders (Duncan Bell, Dixon Upcox and Peter Berry) was Clive Parker who had his neat Trix layout

Clive has fitted as much as possible into a small size. As I was passing a Gaiety Pannier Tank was pulling a pair of suburban coaches.


As usual the traders had a mixed day however as visitors stay at the show all afternoon, sales were still being conducted at 4pmand most had  reasonable or good sales by the end of the day.


Thanks to all the visitors from far and wide including John Robertson from Australia and Marcus Leckie from New Zealand, Marcus also took half a sales table to sell Tri-ang New Zealand made sets and Rolling stock (not surprisingly he sold out!)


Many thanks to Four Marks Scouts who organised the early Bacon Butties and refreshments all day, Alresford Scouts who ran the BBQ and sold 300 burgers/hot dogs

 Alresford Pigs for selling The Pots Brewery Real Ale and Alresford Save the Children Branch who manned the doors. The show helped raise approx £2000 for these local charities.

A big thank you to Dave McCarthy for the photographs and putting the report together on the web.


Those taking lunch in the courtyard were also entertained by blues band ‘Watch Out’, who played from 1pm-4pm. We also had a Spitfire Flypast at 4pm to celebrate the Mid Hants Railway ‘War on the Line’ weekend.


Bob Leggett, Show Organiser

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