We have just got back from the Southampton Show (having stayed over Sunday evening due to the distances involved and put the layout to bed pending the next show at Liverpool in April.

None of the crew have visited this show before (at 260 miles from home its a bit of a trek) but what a cracking show it is too. I think I would willingly travel down as a visitor despite the distance. Some exceptional layouts where on show, Melton Mowbray in N, The two (for my money showpiece) 2mm finescale layouts Highbury Colliery and Wansbeck Road, Ogden Fold and Rolveden in P4, an American layout I actually liked, Wolf Creek were the outstanding ones. There were plenty more as well.

My thanks go to David and Alison Barker who organise the event along with the rest of the Southampton Club. We were looked after royally, and what a friendly bunch as well. I’ve exhibited at a few shows where you haven’t been given the time of day by the host club, to go to a show like this makes you want to take your next layout back there. Its something I’ve always done in my time managing shows, and lets face it being sociable isn’t hard is it.

Not wanting to get to embroiled in narrative and detract from a good weekend here’s some of the personal highlights:

The first running of my Blue Pullman which I’ve converted to EM (the first one??)

Finding the Platform Tavern on Saturday night courtesy of my Good Beer Guide App on the phone. What a superb pub. We were going for a GBG pub crawl but elected to stay put it was that good!

An overheard conversation between two visitors ” I’ve been told you were seen talking to the Great Western Study Group people on their stand”


“Well we will ignore it this once, but if you do it again there will be repercussions” Priceless. It’s always good to see similar attitudes as ours to that railway!

Anyway some photos – unusual ones first of the layout being set up to give non exhibition people an idea of the logistics of attending a show.


1. Packing the van


Assembling the layout

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How many men does it take to put up a fiddleyard?

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Tony ponders which return curve first

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A little oops moment when I tried to put the Blue Pullman which I’ve converted to EM  on the layout and then realised I’d forgotten to do one of the bogies on Coach D. Out with the wheelpuller!

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and yours truly himself correcting error

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And the finished article – it ran perfectly from the off. Just needs some very judicial weathering of the underframe and roof now.

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The operating crew hard at work

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And last but not least for now, I’m not noted for being politically correct and when I saw these adverts on sale at the Shipley show last year couldn’t resist building an advertising hoarding for Huddersfield Road.

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My grateful thanks to the whole of the operating crew this weekend, Martin Edmondson, Phil Taylor, Ian Worthington and Tony and Graham Bucknell. I cant operate the layout without your assistance guys and it is very much appreciated. I’ve had such a good weekend I’ve even forgiven Graham for running his Pannier tank on New Hey (It was in NCB livery!!)