Solent Summit At Warley 2019

This year the Warley Model Railway Club held its annual exhibition on the 23rd and 24th of November 2019 at the National Exhibition Center in Bermingham and my club, the Gosport American Model Railroad Group, took our N Scale Layout ‘Solent Summit’.

‘Solent Summit’, unlike most model railways at exhibitions, is modular, which means we can increase or decrease the size and alter the shape to suit the space we’re given.  And for small shows being smaller makes the layout more manageable.  But given that the Warley exhibition at the NEC is one of the largest in the UK we took everything, well just about everything.

The space we had was 65′ by 26′ and we filled it with just under 5 scale miles of scenic sections; the yard space was not included in the length calculation.

To give you an idea of how big the show is, our layout, which was the largest in the show, is circled in red on the plan below.  We had a nice central spot.

We arrived on Friday at midday to set up, which took 7 hours.  Cottesmore Model Railway made this short video below showing the hall when we arrived followed by the crowds as the show opened on Saturday morning.  It gives some idea of the size of the show.

The configuration of ‘Solent Summit’ for this show was a large letter E with ‘East Yard’ being at the top and ‘West Yard’ at the bottom.  The mainline is a single track with three large passing places evenly spaced along the line.  This means that there are always five or six trains on the mainline at the same time.  There are several other passing places but as we run lots of long trains we needed to keep to the three main ones to avoid getting jammed.

The photo below shows the layout from the bottom right corner just before we got going on Saturday morning.

Given the size and all the new modules we had, I thought I would talk you through them all, starting at the East Yard.  The majority of the photos here have been taken by our friend Paul Begg who let me use them as I had very little time once the show was open, and he’s a better photographer than me!

The East Yard has 6 tracks with trains entering on the right and leaving on the left.  The combined storage shown here is 141′ 3″ of trains.  Typically we have three trains in each line. The ‘West Yard’ is the same size and trains will set out from each yard at the same time, pass each other at one of the three passing places and enter the opposing yard.  Once all the trains have swapped ends, we start again.  A few trains are special in that they exchange with other trains on the layout.  For example, a coal train can leave ‘West Yard’ and stop in the ‘Power Station’.  The engineer will then continue the journey with another train from the ‘Power Station’ to fill the space in ‘East Yard’.

Leaving the East Yard the twin tracks enter the scenic boards and the first is ‘East Fork’ which is a two-into-one board.  The M-10000 pictured below, often referred to as the Earth Worm, was built in 1935 for Union Pacific and was the first of their streamliners. It’s leaving the East Yard on its 5-mile run.

‘East Fork’, as you can see, ends with the standard single track. The lights on the side of the module indicate if the turnout is set for entry or exit; currently it’s set for exit.  They are repeated on the back of the module and help us see what’s going on from a distance.

The line now crosses a creek on ‘Rocky Creek’ built by Chris before entering ‘Tunnel 31’.

‘Tunnel 31’, built by Bob, has a small homestead with gravel roadway causing all trains to blow their whistles as they pass.  The module also has an automatic signal system triggered as trains pass through the tunnel.

Emerging from the tunnel we enter ‘Bob’s Pickle’ which is a double module.  This busy area, built by Bob, features several industries including Bob’s Blue Circle Pickles, Branstone Cement Works, Dunno-Watt Inc & King’s Scrapyard.  The complex also has a small passenger depot.  Running across the bridges is an overhead electric “inter-urban” shuttle service which runs a regular schedule between communities at the extremities of the module.

This module set can also be used for passing smaller trains.  The pickle works and cement factory are both kits from The N Scale Architect with 3D printed pickle cars, designed by me, and they can be found here.

Lurking at the back of the modules are the trio of Alco C-855s awaiting their next duty.

Leaving ‘Bob’s Pickle’ we enter the ‘Coal Mine’ also built by Bob.  The mainline runs through the tunnel nearest the front and three lines enter the coal mine for the loading of coal.

A UP Gas turbine with Alco FA & FB helpers sits on a train ready to go, as does a Big Boy on the far track.  This is one of the exchange points for other trains leaving the yard, but coal trains only exchange running West to East.  I’ll explain why later on.

As the mainline emerges from the tunnel it crosses ‘Hell’s Glen’, again built by Bob, which is a curved steel trestle over a deep ravine and a road before plunging into another tunnel.

As the mainline leaves the tunnel it enters ‘Power Station’, again built by Bob, which is home to the Solent Power & Light Company.

The interesting thing about these three modules is they are actually a set.  The UP caboose you can see is the other end of the train headed by the Gas Turbine.  Two tracks run behind ‘Hell’s Glen’ connecting the coal mine and power station.  That way loaded coal trains can leave the coal mine and run into the power station, and vise-versa for empty trains.  Loaded coal runs West to East and empties East to West. This system can support trains up to 7′ long.  The level crossing outside the power station has automatic crossing barriers which drop as a train approaches. A very nice touch is that the plant chimney also smokes.

Next, the line runs round a corner and splits into twin tracks at ‘West Fork’.  This module is the opposite of ‘East Fork’ and can also be used as a yard entrance.  This is also the start of the first passing place.

‘Dilithium Propellants’ is the first of the twin-track modules and features what looks like an oil refinery.  But as any Star Trek fan will tell you, Dilithium crystals power starships!

After ‘Dilithium Propellants’ comes ‘Cascade Falls’ which has some large rock formations worn down over centuries by the water tumbling over the falls.  This module is also twin tracked and both lines cross the river on steel bridges.  We always try to pass on the right as this Burlington Northern GP38-2 is doing. These modules were built by Marten and donated to the club when he moved away.

The line now curves again passing through “Twin Rocks’ built by Ted & Chris.  As the name implies it’s also a twin-track module.

The twin-tracks continue through ‘High Plains’ built by Ted.

Ending the first passing place is ‘Desert Fork’ which is another two-into-one module.

‘Desert Fork’ can also be used as a yard entrance and has the lights on the sides.

The single track now continues through a module simply called ‘Trees’ built by Bob.  This type of module we call mileage boards as they are just that, designed to add distance.

After running through all that open country, the line again enters a busy area and first up is ‘Allied Rail’ built by Chris.  This module features a wagon and locomotive repair facility with the mainline passing in front.

The line then curves through the town of ‘Forton’ also built by Chris.

Another industrial area follows ‘Forton’ called ‘Westen Yard’ build by Ted.  This twin module, like ‘Bob’s Pickle’ has many industries and can be used as a stand-alone switching layout.

The yard can also be operated as a switching puzzle. Trains arrive with freight cars in a random order, but identified with a color, as shown below.  The color indicates which industry the cars need to be spotted at.  Any cars already spotted at industries are removed and replaced with the new ones.  The old cars leave with the next outbound train.  Once spotting is complete a new train arrives and the puzzle starts again.

The yard has its own 0-8-0 switcher or ‘Yard Goat’.

Under the buildings at the back are hidden sidings to exchange trains for the puzzle if they are not being exchanged with the mainline.

Leaving ‘Western Yard’ the line curves through ‘Ted’s Farm’ not surprisingly built by Ted.  The tail end of the long Southern Pacific Overnight express freight service can be seen leaving the module.

This Great Northern freight train rounds the corner passing the farm.

After the farm comes ‘Solent Summit Station, which is a triple module, the second passing place and the middle of the layout at two and a half miles.  There are four lines; starting nearest to the station building is the station track, then the mainline, followed by a passing line and goods holding track with head shunts.  We can pass trains up to 9’ here, one can be longer if it’s not stopping.

The station building is actually a model of the “Harvey House” at Seligman in Arizona.  The Harvey Houses were a chain of hotel-restaurants that provided services to railroad passengers and served as station facilities. The Harvey House at Seligman was demolished in 2008, just before the ‘Solent Summit’ layout was started.

As this is the center of the layout there are frequent trains passing by and the SP overnight is headed by a massive AC12 Cab Forward, built between 1943 and 1944, and was the pinnacle of the SP steam power.

In comparison a vintage SP 2-6-0 from the turn of the century heads by on a scenic tour.

The line out of the west end of ‘Solent Summit Station’ can be either single or double track, which extends the possible passing length, but in this set up its single leading into ‘Jon’s Cut’.  The module was originally built by Jon who is sadly no longer with us.  In recent years it has been refreshed by Morgan to add the caravans and campsite.  As the name suggests the line passes through a cutting with rock walls on both sides.

Leaving the cutting, the line enters ‘Sunkist’ which is a double module built by Ted.  One end of the module has a small-town scene with a road crossing and there’s a small station depot in the middle.  Ted says there are ninety-nine orange trees on the module, and he made each one of them.

‘Sunkist’ is an orange plant complete with an ice house and ice loading platforms for filling refrigerator cars.

The ice platforms can load six refrigerator cars at a time with ice. You can tell if a car is a basic box car or ‘reefer’ car as the reefers have hatches at both ends to load ice.  Each car has an ice compartment at each end to refrigerate the center section.  Depending on the distance the oranges will travel the railroad may have more ice houses and loading platforms along the route to top up the reefers.

Leaving the orange fields, the line rounds a corner and crosses an abandoned narrow-gauge line at ‘Trestle Curve’, also built by Ted.

‘New Mills’ is the next module and is built by me.  It features a small passing place at a depot serving a factory complex.  Due to a large number of parcel deliveries and local passenger trains stopping in both directions, the whole depot area has been boarded out.

The line then passes through ‘Flat Rock’ built by Ted.  The large stone is protected as it’s believed to be spiritual, consequently, the line is curved around it.

The last built-up area in this section is ‘Water Street’ which is also a double module built by Chris.

‘Water Street’ has many industries and its own yard, arrival and departure tracks as well as its own sidings allowing for lots of switching.  Some of the industries have covered unloading areas with in the buildings.  This is another area where trains are exchanged with trains from the yards.

The through line runs at the front of the modules as seen by this Maersk Double stack train.

The line curves 90 degrees as it leaves the modules and enters the first of the incline or gradient modules ‘Pope Grade’ which was built by Kerry.  The mainline passes through a large cut as it climbs uphill, from right to left, at 2.5%.  The actual line raises 1 1/4″ over the 5′ module.

The track levels out and passes through ‘Oil’ which is a one-foot long module with a working oil well, or nodding donkey, pumping oil which was built by Bob.

Then the line enters my latest module ‘Tehachapi’.

Not only is this the last passing place, capable of passing trains 17′ long, it also drops the mainline by 2 1/2″.  Any train longer than 13′ will pass over, or under, itself as it traverses the loop.

The blur running down the hill (Not one of Paul’s photos) is the C-855 consist with a long UP box train passing the SP Overnight running uphill.

My previous post, which can be found here, has a lot more photos of the loop.

Leaving the loop, on the lower level, the mainline passes through ‘Plains’ built by Bob, which is another mileage board.

The mainline then curves again through the road crossing at ‘Majestic’ built by Ted.

‘Majestic’ has a hardware store and John Deere tractor dealership.  A Streamlined SP 4-6-4 coasts by with the Hustler.

This has been one of my favorite spots for capturing videos.  Below are the set of C-855s passing by. (Filmed prior to Warley 2019.)

And a Nickle Plate Railroad Berkshire, (Also filmed before the Warley exhibition.)

Leaving ‘Majestic’ the line hits the second incline or gradient module ‘Alver Grade’ built by Kerry.  This also climbs uphill, from right to left, at 2.5% and raises the line1 1/4″ to return it to the standard level.  The scenery is more hilly than rocky as a Norfolk & Western J1 winds its way through the trees.

Now back on the level, the line passes through ‘Sawmill’ built by Chris.  Although it’s a single module it’s the longest we have at six feet.  There’s a logging spur running out the back and it has several sidings to allow it to be a stand-alone switching area if required.

The mill pool is to the left of the module for washing the logs before they’re conveyed into the mill for cutting.  Lumber products are loaded onto the freight cars and the sawdust is either burnt in the pyramid burner or loaded into high sided gondola cars for export.

The line then passes my last module ‘Warsash Wye’ which is a scratch-built timber trestle spanning the Warsash River.

The trestle is loosely based on the ‘Keddie Wye’ trestle in California in that it splits with a line running out the back of the module. There’s a lot more on how I built this module in the How To section of this website.

After the passing the trestle, trains round the final curve on ‘Watson’s Siding’ built by Ted.  The turnout is non-functioning as the siding and buildings are abandoned.

Next comes the ‘Hobo Camp’ built by Bob.  This is another one-foot module with a group of hobos camping in an old caboose.

And the last scenic module is ‘Road Bridge’ which is another two-into-one board with the mainline passing under a road.  A family has stopped on the bridge to do some train spotting, and it looks like they’re in luck as the C-855s are just getting ready to leave the yard.  You can see a green light on the side of the module which means the turnout is set against the C-855s, for entry into the yard.

The twin lines then enter ‘West Yard’ which is a mirror of ‘East yard’.  And that completes five miles of track.

As well as all the modules in the 5-mile setup, we also have an inner curved module with double-track called ‘Waltons Curve’ built by Chris and a single-track outer curved module called ‘Highway 61’ built by Ted, ‘Highway 61’ was named for the crossroads with Highway 49 where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil, and also Bob Dylan’s ‘Highway 61 Revisited’.  We were unable to fit these into this layout configuration this time but I’m sure they’ll get an outing soon.  Also to be completed are two small curves, one inner and one outer, with a 45° angle.  These are single-track and will give us more flexibility with the layout shape as all the other curves are 90°.

Seeing the modules individually is great but it’s much better to see them all together so here is Southern Pacific GS4 number 4449, pulling the Morning Daylight, traversing the full five miles from ‘East Yard’ to ‘West Yard’.

Paul Begg who took all the great photos also took lots of videos, and here is his compilation.  Now you know the different modules it should help you understand where the different bits were filmed.

‘Solent Summit’ also features for the first 12 minutes on the video below by DCC125.

We always enjoy running ‘Solent Summit’, no matter what size, so if you want to book it for your exhibition send me a message via the contact page.  We can do almost any combination of modules and the layout can be small or large with anything inbetween.

It was my first time both as an exhibitor and as a visitor, and the enormous size of the show and the crowds it brings in meant I didn’t get to see  very much of the rest of the show, but I hope to in the future and when I do I will share that with you.

Our Upcoming Club Show

This week’s post will be brief as I’m in the middle of preparing for my club’s upcoming exhibition on the 20th of October.  I’ve been the exhibition manager for the show the last three years and the preparation almost consumes the weeks running up to the show, but the hard work is most definitely worth it as we’ve been able to provide consistently good quality model railway shows as a club.  We have 18 exhibition layouts coming this year including:

Any City – OO
Atherfield – OO
Brixham Bay – N
Cringle Street – O
Denver, Gosport Gulch & Pacific Railroad – ON30
Flintcombe – P4
Freshwater – N Scale
Garreg Wen – OO9
Great Swilling – EM
Kamiak Falls – HO
Milford on Sea – OO
Millway Dock – OO
Newquey East – OO
Parkstone Goods – OO
Rookery Lane – OO
Santa Agueda – HO
Springfield – O
Svanda – HO

We will also have good trade support and several demo layouts and displays, and once again our main sponsor is Model Railway Solutions, a fantastic modeler’s shop and source of info in our area!

If you’re in the area that weekend, come along, it promises to be another great show and we’d love to see you.

The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2018

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while you may remember a post I did in 2015 about the ‘Great Dorset Steam Fair’ (GDSF), also now known as the ‘The National Heritage Show’.  You can find the post here.

This year I paid the GDSF another visit, and not just because it’s a great show, but because they were celebrating their 50th anniversary and to mark the occasion they decided to attempt a Guinness World Record for the ‘the largest display of steam-powered vehicles’. And they did it; out of 522 full size steam engines present at the show, 472 were officially recognised as meeting the set criteria.  I’m not sure what the criteria were but they made for an impressive display and something which will probably not happen again for a long time.

As well as the 522 full size steam engines the show was full with everything from horse plowing to diggers and to try to get around to see them all in one day was simply not possible, so I’m going to share with you some of the highlights for me as well as some of the full size steam engines in the show.

Arriving very early helped as a lot of the engines, although parked up, were getting under steam and I was able to walk up and down the rows.  Several of the engines I’ve seen before but what also made this show more special was the GDSF had shipped in many from around the world.

Fowler Road locomotive ‘Atlas’.

Foden Road Locomotive ‘Earl of Dudley’.

This was one of several shipped in from New Zealand.  Foden Road Locomotive.

This unusual, to me anyway, engine ‘Peerless’  was made by Peerless, Geiser Mfg. Co., Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, USA.

This Ruston Proctor & Co. road engine came from Holland.

Fowler General Purpose Engine “Kinsale”.

This Ruston Proctor & Co. traction engine.

Fowler Road Locomotive ‘The Great North’.

This plowing engine, significant for its longer boiler to accommodate the winch wheel, was in need of restoration but I feel confident it will be back in steam at a future GDSF.

Of course seeing the engines up close is great but it’s not as good as seeing them working and the GDSF does just that.  There are several arenas across the show but the largest and my favorite by far is the heavy haulage ring, more commonly known by the fans as the ‘Play Pen’.  Here you can see engines of all sizes working up and down the hill, running light or towing trailers of varies sizes and weights.

This Irish road locomotive was getting some good exercise.

This German engine was heading into the ring for a good run.

Even better than one traction engine is two and in the video below you can see the 1906 Burrell Traction Engine (BP5913) “Validus” working with the Burrell Road Locomotive (TA615) “Semper Fidelis” to pull a load of chains up the hill.  I think the driver of “Semper Fidelis” is having a bit of fun as he’s allowing “Validus” to do all the work untill “Validus” realises what’s going on and calls for some more power.  Together they accelerate up the hill.

As well as traditional style engines I was pleased to see some things I’d never seen before. One of these was ‘Avery’.

This American design undermounted traction engine looks very much like a railway locomotive.  The crew, when interviewed over the PA system, said when driving you can’t see over the boiler, just like a train.  I believe they said they’d it brought over from Oklahoma.

The cab also had the same shape and feel as a railway locomotive.

The ‘Avery’ was build by Avery & Co, Peoria, Illinois, USA.

But the best bit, for me, about the ‘Avery’ was the wonderful American chime whistle which you can hear towards the end of the video below.

The ‘heavy haulage’ ring is also used for just that and Allelys brought one of their big tractor units and trailers with a BR standard class 5 locomotive on the back.

As well as demonstrating throughout the day how they load and unload the locomotive they also allowed the setup to be towed around the ring and below you can see three road locomotives doing a lap of the lower ring.  The modern tractor unit is simply providing air for the trailer brakes.

There is always a variety of different loads to tow in the ring; below is a large cylinder spanning between two trucks.

And a well trailer with a large transformer.

Below we have two road locomotives working a generator load up the hill.

Railway locomotives and traction engines, although evolving at the same time, normally took very different paths and I was surprised to see a traction engine railway locomotive.

‘The Blue Circle’ was built by Aveling & Porter in 1926 as was the very last one they built out of 130 and is believed to be the only one left.  It was originally purchased by Holborqugh Cement Co. Ltd of Kent which later became associated with Portland Cement.  It was used to shunt cement and coal trucks around the works.

The locomotive worked right up until 1962 when it was replaced with a more powerful locomotive.  In 1964 it was presented to the Blue Bell Railway for preservation and it was at this point it was named “The Blue Circle” after Portland’s popular cement products.  However due to its relatively low power, for a railway locomotive, and top speed of 6 miles an hour, it didn’t get returned to service.  But in 1988 it was sold to its present owner and returned to all of its glory.

‘The Blue Circle’ was giving wagon rides at the GDSF and I was really pleased to see it preserved and working.

As well as steam engines I also like a lot of the historic military and commercial vehicles but for me there’s one which sits at the top of the list, the Scammell Explorer.

“Chunky” here doesn’t have a broken axle, it’s just parked on a ramp showing off its amazing suspension.

These 6 by 6 tank recovery vehicles are right at home charging around the “Play Pen”.

Here’s one as it went up the hill.

There were, of course, lots of other commercial vehicles but this one stood out; I don’t know what it was but I think Mad Max might like it!

This is an Ex-Russian military heavy haulage truck.

As you can see, it’s a lot bigger than the Scammell Explorer which it was towing.

And just to show off, below you can see and hear it towing two Scammells up the hill.

Another unusual traction engine was this reversed boiler direct plowing engine.

This engine, named ‘Joker’ was built by Garrett ‘Suffolk Punch’ tractor in 1919.  As stated it was designed for direct plowing, which is basically towing a plow, and was geared to be faster than traditional traction engines. Traditionally plowing had been done with two engines, see the 2015 GDSF post to read more.  From what I understand this design was introduced about the same time as diesel tractors started to come out and the traction engines were seen as old technology so the design never took off.

Steam rollers are also a huge part of the GDSF and although they have their own areas where they where building roads, there were plenty in the ring.

These also provide a great service as the ground, although dry, still gets churned up by all the heavy equipment and the rollers simply smooth it all out.

Steam lorries can always been seen in the ring and this year was no exception.

But for me it was the steam Omnibus which stood out; a little different and one I’d not seen before.

A unsuall steam roller I managed to snap as it passed by me was this ex-Wirksworth Quarries chain-driven Dual-Roller.

On display alongside the full size steam engines there are lots and lots of miniature engines and here are few as they trundled by.

I think the dog is in charge of this one!

This miniature steam lorry fire engine was fun.

Leaving the heavy haulage ring for a minute over in the threshing section, which sadly I only had time to pass by once, was a Canadian engine working the thresher.

And if you wondering what a thresher looks like, here is one powered by an Allchin traction engine ‘Evedon Lad’ built in 1910.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t get a chance to look around the rest of the threshing area, here is a view of just part of the site taken from near the top of the plowing field.

This panoramic video is taken from the same spot and shows half of the GDSF site.  The rest is to the right of the hedge.

One of the big attractions, and always has been, is the Showmans’ engines.

This Showman’s from Ireland was looking striking in green.

‘The Forest Maiden’ which has been a regular visitor to the show over the years was previously red has now been repainted in glistening black with the name of the builder returned to the engine.

And given how many there were at the GDSF this year it wasn’t surprising to see some running in the ‘Play Pen’.

This Showman’s engine “The Iron Duke” was brought back from Germany where it had been powering an amusement park.

On the right side the German writing is translated to English and reads ‘the fascination of steam’.

As the evening draws in the Showman’s engines comes alive with electric light and demonstrate how they got their names – by powering the historic fairgrounds.

If you get a chance to visit the GDSF it’s very much worth staying on to see these engines come into their own in the evening; the lights, steam, smell, noise from the fairground and friendly crowds enjoying the atmosphere with a pint of real ale is an experience not to be missed.

As I said earlier there was just so much to see it was impossible to capture it all but here are some of the other engines doing what they do best.

One of my favorite parts of the show is when it starts to get dark but some engines are still running around the ‘Play Pen’ and this year we had a good sky and a full moon. You get a real sense of the enjoyment the drivers have at running these engines; the crowds have died down but they’re still making the most of having the space to let them run.

Here are some videos of engines running in the dark.

The GDSF is always a special event because a lot of the engines spend the event working as they were built to do and not just sitting as museum pieces. Next year’s show may not be as big but it’ll still be an impressive sight giving all the noises, smells and wonders of steam and I hope to be there; maybe I’ll see you at the heavy haulage ring!

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know I try to post every week.  However last Monday I was rather ill so I ended up missing my post.  But never fear because I’m back and ready to post.  And this week, as promises two weeks ago, will be about the Great Central Railway Model Event which I attend as an exhibitor with our club layout, Solent Summit.

Now, although I said I attended the event it was a very busy weekend and given the size of the layout we took and the number of staff we had it was very difficult to get away and see the other things.  Plus as the Great Central Railway had exhibits at different stations along the line, not having the time for a train trip, I was unable to see any of those.  But the real trains where running right out side our marquee and I was able to dive out and get some pictures and video to share with you.

We were based at Quorn & Woodhouse Station which has an island platform between the tracks.  Throughout out each day three steam haled services, a diesel top and tailed service and a DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) ran up and down the line.  And given that it’s a double main line this made for an intensive service.

On the Friday Class 20 D8098 worked on the South end of the diesel service with Class 37 37714 on the North end.

The Class 20 was built by English Electric/Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd in Darlington in 1961.  The Class 37 was also built in 1961 by English Electric.

The Woodhouse road crossed the North end of the station and from here I was able to capture the iconic sound of the class 37, which gave them the name ‘Growlers’, as it departed heading North.

Out of the three steam engines Standard 5 No. 73156 was the smallest, although don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not a powerful locomotive. It has a BR (British Rail) power rating of 5MT (Mixed Traffic) and considering the scale only goes up to 9, that’s not bad.

This 4-6-0, built at Doncaster in 1956, had a fantastic exhaust note and I managed to run out and catch it as it pulled out of the station heading south.

As well as the big trains the DMU was also running up and down.  The train consisted of a three car set and I believe an additional fourth power car.  Sadly I didn’t see it again to get any more shots.

The second steam engine was 70013, Oliver Cromwell.

This 4-6-2 pacific class 7P (Passenger) express engine was a fantastic looking locomotive and, given that it has a main line ticket and is regally ruining main line steam specials at top speed, ran like a sewing machine.

From the other side if the line I was able to capture it coasting into the station heading North.

And again from the road bridge departing North.

The GCR does have turntables but as the line is only about 10 miles long and the locomotive are not running at speed they do the return journey in reverse.

Her is Oliver Cromwell departing the station heading South, tender first.

One the Friday night the GCR put on a special train for the exhibitors so I did get a ride and it was behind none other than Oliver Cromwell.

At the southern end of the line, Leicester North, I captured Oliver Cromwell running round its train.

On the Saturday the Class 20 was still on the diesel service but the 37 had been replaced with Class 45 D123.

This locomotive was in wonderful condition and despite the distinctive diesel growls I don’t think it needed to work very hard at all to pull its train.

The Class 45 or ‘Peak’ has been named ‘Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry’.  D123 was built at Crewe in 1961.

The last steam engine, and the one I most wanted to see was also was the most elusive however I did manage to catch it.  The huge (by British Standards) Class 9F 92214 ‘Leicester City’.  It was built at Swindon in October, 1959.

This 2-10-0 simply radiated power, not surprising as it was one of the most powerful steam locomotive types ever constructed in Britain, and I don’t think it even knew it had a train behind it.  Here it is departing the station heading South.

On its return it was adorned by a Bachmann name plate although I don’t think any on-board DCC sound decoder could sound that good!

On Sunday we had our last locomotive change for the diesel service.  The class 20 was replaced by Class 25 D5185 Named ‘Castell Dinas Bran’.  It was built at Darlington in 1963.

Here is the Class 25 and 45 departing the station heading South.

At the south end of Quorn and Woodhouse station is a turntable and parked on it out of the way for the weekend was part of the ‘Wind cutter’ mineral set.

The GCR has 36 of these wagons, 18 in service, and they are used to recreate fast main line freight trains. You can read more about the ‘Windcutter project’ here.

This also would have been a great spot to watch trains go by, if I had the time, but I did catch ‘Peak’ D123.

And of course what would a steam railway station be without a traction engine to hand.

But what about the model exhibition?  In the pictures below of Quorn and Woodhouse station you can see the huge marquees behind which housed the layouts.

The picture below was taken from one end of one of our marquee just after we packed up to give you some idea of the size of the event.

As I said before it was a busy weekend and although I did get to have a quick look around I sadly didn’t take any pictures of the other layouts, all 70 of them!

But, thanks to Paul Begg we do have lots of photos of our layout which can be found here.

He also made a great video which captured a lot of our trains including the 22′ RoadRailer train!

There are lots of great videos on YouTube covering the other layouts, one set which seems to cover most of them is listed below. (Solent Summit is in part 5).

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 1

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 2

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 3

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 4

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 5

The Great Central Railway Model Event 2018 – Part 6

This event was a lot of fun and it’s certainly one I would recommend going to next year.  I would like to say thanks to the Paul Begg for his photos and video, the Soar Valley Model Railway Club for organizing the exhibition and the Great Central Railway for hosting it all.  I will leave you with two more videos of Standard 5 No. 73156 and Oliver Cromwell powering out of Quorn and Woodhouse station.

Getting Ready for The Big Show

This week’s post will be nice and short.  Although I’ve been progressing with several of my current projects, as mentioned last week, this coming weekend I’ll be at the Great Central Railway’s model railway exhibition from the 15th to the 17th June 2018.

My fellow club members and I will have a large portion of our modular layout ‘Solent Summit’ on show at the Quorn station along with 70 other layouts in the exhibition.

What makes this exhibition different is it’s actually at the railway station and your entry ticket includes unlimited rides on the real trains running from Loughborough to Leicester North.

And for this weekend we are lucky to have three steam engines working the line:

BR Standard Class 7 – 70013 Oliver Cromwell (Photo by D Rawlings)

BR Standard Class 9F – 92214 Leicester City (Photo by

BR Standard 5 – 73156 which has just been returned to service. (Picture from GCR website)


Plus diesel locomotives:

BR Class 20 – D8098 (on the Friday) (Picture from GCR website)

BR Class 37 – 37714 (on the Friday) (Picture from GCR website)

BR Class 45 – Peak D123 (On the Saturday and Sunday) (Photo by Paul Biggs)

There is also one more to be announced.

This three-day exhibition is shaping up to be a great event for model trains and real ones.  For those of you who can’t make it I’ll try to do a blog post about it when I get back.  For those who are interested in coming you can find more about it here.

Exhibition Preparation

This week’s post will simply be a quick note about what I have coming up as this is a very busy week for me; just as this week was last year!

The main reason why I’m so busy is this Sunday, the 5th of November, will be the Poole & District Model Railway Society’s annual exhibition held at Poole Grammar School on Gravel Hill.  And this is my second year as the Exhibition Manager.

Again this year we have fifteen exhibition layouts at the show plus P&DMRS’s own layout which is based on Poole. We also have several demos as well as the usual traders to fill all your modeling needs. The full list can be found on the P&DMRS’ website here.

Once all the preparation was done for last year the actual exhibition was great fun so this year I’m really looking forward to it!  So wish me well and I’ll see you on the other side!