The Letchworth Model Railway Exhibition

Happy New Year.

It’s been a while since my last post and I thought I should get on and finish the post I started many months ago about a local model railway society exhibition I attended back in November 2017.

This annual show is organised by Letchworth Model Railway Society and usually has a really interesting mixture of trade stands and layouts in a range of scales, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Interestingly for a UK based model railway exhibition the show tends to feature quite a few Continental themed layouts, at least it has in the two years I’ve attended. My highlights for the 2018 show were:

Unserstadt by Brian and Ann Silby. Unserstadt is a fairly compact freelance N scale Swiss layout. It packed quite a lot of interest into a relatively small space without being too track-heavy and gave me hope that some mountainous Swiss modules of my own might be a realistic possibility.

Oldshaw by Guy Molneaux. Oldshaw is another freelance layout but this time set in an area of the UK known as the West Country. The layout is centred around the rail-served siding of a local engineering company and the small passenger station nearby. This is one of those layouts that almost has me doubting my choice of scales because I love the level of detail you can achieve in larger scales such as HO, EM and even O. The colour palette and weathering applied, probably aided by good lighting,  blended everything together perfectly and the finescale track definitely makes a big difference. I stood at this one for some time just admiring everything.

I also had an interesting chat with the man behind the Slim Gauge Circle stand. The Slim Gauge Circle are a group that model narrow-gauge North American railroads. I have to admit it’s not something I’d thought about modelling before but the locomotives on show were very impressive models of attractive prototypes and I did spend a little while after the show looking at pictures of North American narrow-gauge sugar railroads. (Check out the CaneSIG website for more). Maybe one day…

Apart from another potential project, the other interesting thing to come out of my chat with the Slim Gauge Circle member was a demonstration of the module construction method being used on the demonstration layout. The modules were built from from well-dried, relatively-small dimension timber and foam sheet. This was much lighter than the plywood framework I’ve discussed here but no less rigid for it. Admittedly the modules were much smaller than the ones I’ve planned but it did start me wondering if my modules are over-engineered. Time will tell I suppose.

This reminded me that it’s always worth spending some time looking at models of prototypes you might not necessary be interested in when you are at a show as you never know what tips or ideas you might pick-up that could be transferred to your own area of interest.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what was at the show, so if you fancy paying a visit then keep your eyes on this page of Letchworth Model Railway Society website to find out who and what they’ve got planned for 2018.

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