Another year, another Leicester and again Paul Draycott with friends and family did not disappoint with another sparkling show.

Leicester ShowLeaving Alresford just before 6.30am with Neil Bowsher hitching a lift we arrived at the Trinity Church Hall, Leicester at 8.30am.

The Friday nighters and early arrivals were well on their way to completing their exhibits and setting their sales stalls out. As usual when you arrive there is a lot of friendly meeting and greeting and of course the expectation of what may appear on the various sales tables.

This year the show seemed busier than most and there was a real buzz (and some bell ringing-more later) in the main hall.

The show is laid out in the usual format and I will take you through the way most visitors would have seen the show.

The first item to grabs everyone’s attention was the new TCS Pop-Up Banner that was in the area between the two sets of front doors. These certainly help promote the TCS and create an identity of the club, They can be used by any member when at an event.

In the foyer members of the Trinity Church manned the door and were given a donation for their help and hire of the hall.

Rod Hannah did sterling work all day on the club information stand and with Tony Stanford signed up three new members and had several late renewals (sorry!) and a re-signing. The stand uses old Train Collector Magazines to give to prospective members, they gave out the last spares, so if any member has any old collectors no longer wanted please pass them to Rod or Tony.

The rest of the entrance hall was mainly traders, Phil Goater had a collection of Tri-ang including a Railway Children unboxed set which he was prepared to split, so yours truly picked up the old timer coach for £20.

Alongside another old timer John Ridley was selling his usual excellent mix of items, in front was Chris Ford with he superb spares ‘shop’

Chris reported good sales across all areas. The TCS Bring and Buy stall did fantastic work all day and sold a lot of stock giving the club £30 in commission/donations, well done to Dave Parry and Peter Wright for manning the stand.

Opposite Albert Chaplin was selling mainly O gauge however had an uncommon Lionel 00 Hudson for £500. Peter Corley was still selling some of his old stock as well as some vintage Railway Magazines

Elaine’s Trains also had a good day, Trix Express and Hornby Acho were good sellers.

Alongside were first time exhibitors, Val and Tony Scott. They had a very neat 5’ x 3’ 0 Gauge Faller Hit Train layout. This is a battery operated system that was made from 1970-1980 and is probably the most colourful and querky system you will see. Running well all day this was very well received and the new exhibitors enjoyed their day so much they will be at the 2015 summer show.

Opposite Len Mills had his ACE sales table. Featuring many new locos every thing was selling well from London Transport to Britannia.

We now enter the main hall where we are faced with the main attraction according to owner Richard Bingham. A Meccano Blackpool Tower. A magnificent model over 4’ high, with working lifts and a display ad that changes every minute, Richard was also selling off some surplus Lionel Standard items.

Opposite Michael Foster was selling the excellent ETS chassis complete with motors to convert Hornby and other maker’s locomotives. Alongside Mark Carne was selling a nice collection of mainly Hornby O Gauge and believe it or not Level Crossings were good sellers.

Tony Penn had his usual eclectic table including an early Tri-ang yellow switcher with red lining for £70. He also had a Lionel HO 4-6-2 loco and tender for £100. Tony also showed me a rare Gaiety Toad Brake Van he had purchased on the day.

Peter Berry sales table was full of spares and Graham Farish Locomotives and stock. Peter with the help of Paul Draycott and Dave Holt had set up a fascinating display of very early 00 Gauge kit and RTR Coaches. These included Exleys, Jaypee, Ratio, CCW, Jamieson, Coachcraft, Hamblings and others.

In the corner Peter Gurd had a good collection of Tri-ang which he was selling for one of his customers and a nice Tri-ang Hornby RS 20 Starter set sold for £90 to yours truly. Peter also had an excellent selection of books and other items.

In the middle were the rest of the traders, the author had his usual variety of stock as well as a large collection of what Tony Penn would describe as Junk, it was O Gauge and Dublo that had been subjected to damp and was only purchased the day before, nevertheless a Bub Train set sold for £30 and a Hornby Southern 0-4-0 and Tender sold for £40, A Cadburys PO Van did not sell for £30

Steve Knight was selling plenty of Kitmaster , Playcraft and Tri-ang as well as other collectables and the second edition of his excellent book ‘Lets Stick some more together’ which includes lots of further information which came about after publication of the first book ten years ago.

Robert Jachacz was selling Hornby O Gauge and sold a play worn Windsor Station and other good value ltems, again it was mainly lower value lots that sold well, Graham Goodley was selling an assortment of collectables with Dublo and books selling well. Mick Aycott sold OO and HO and Ray Brooks was selling allsorts very well with O gauge best of all. He also had plenty of ex-shop stock of Lone Star Treble-0-Lectric.

On the stage David Knighton, Jonathan Ward and John Boyd were running modern O gauge which included ACE Trains. I spotted several spam cans however noticed Les Martin test running his recent purchase, an ACE London Transport Pannier Tank which was pulling a rake of GWR coaches while an ACE Schools Class ‘Charterhouse’ was on the other track

The rest of the layouts were on the far wall, James Day and Malcolm Pugh had set up an American wonderland of Toy Trains and Model Roadways.

A huge amount of pre-planning went into this layout which had high and low levels Railways and Motorways, several automated road-rail crossings with the Railroad Bells ringing all day. The road-rail sets were Tyco from the early 1980s and Life-like Trains which have been available in the last five years. Malcolm had also set up a superb Faller Road section.

Next to James was Dave White with a neat and very comprehensive Tri-ang and Tri-ang Hornby 00 Gauge layout including Minic Motorway and Model Land. This was full of scenic detail and also had automated road-rail crossings, whilst on one of my many trips to this layout I was impressed with a 3F ‘Old Smokey’ and a newly acquired LMS Jinty both puffing away as they sped round the track.

Paul Williams with help from Bryan Pentland were running US built Marx trains and what a wonderful colourful sight it was. Lots of tin trains, buildings including searchlights, and cranes and three running tracks including a high level oval made this a great layout to watch. As Paul said, in its day it was Cheap, Cheerful and Colourful!

Now in the corner we are reminded of the Jam as the theme for this years show was the London Underground. TCS members excelled themselves and a wonderful assortment of LT Locomotives and Coaching stock were on display. It really was a mouth watering display with several kit built models in OO and 0 Gauge. There were many versions of the Metropolitan ‘Sarah Siddons’ type Locomotive and quite a few full length Tube Trains. Perhaps the oddest was a clockwork O gauge 2-Car set displayed by Clive Gehle, a very crude representation and maker unknown, apparently the London Transport Museum are keen to prise it away from Clive.

Opposite David Ramsey was selling a few surplus items from his collection.

We now move into the small front hall where Pat Hammond has set up a Thomas the Tank Engine Display based on a letter sent by the Rev Awdry to Pat in 1989 explaining he origins of each character. Pat even had photos from Rev Awdry showing his own railway including Daisy who was a converted Tri-ang DMU Power car. On display were most of the Hornby range including their most recent issues. Some of these could become quite rare as it looks like Hornby are no longer going to produce Thomas.

Pat also had some of the original face moulds used by Hornby in the development stage of the Thomas Range. Pat will be doing a new feature on Thomas however he did do quite a comprehensive article in the TCS Journal June 1990.

Colin Totem was selling Darstaad Trains and had a good day with Vans selling particularly well (20+) I did note a particularly relevant van when passing. Standard Fireworks!

Brian Arnold had his AC/DC Trix layout and had a part Southern theme when I was doing the report-perhaps he knew I was coming as I do love everything Southern. On the AC circuit a black Pytchly was pulling a rake of scale length teak coaches and on the DC circuit a Schools class Dover was doing the honours.

Paul Brookes certainly excelled with the club theme, not only did he have Ever Ready Tube stock running he had also converted scrap Ever Ready stock into a full maintenance train including a Queen Anne (it’s actually a Mary , Paul) brake van also made from spare stock.

A Southern Day at the Races was the theme for Bill and Rachel Vyse’s excellent O Gauge Hornby and ACE Trains layout, whilst passing an ACE Q Class with a rake of Southern Coaches was on the inner track whilst a Hornby No 2 Special SR Tank was pulling a rake of Pullmans on the outer track, in the middle a Totopoly set was laid out in race format with the original lead horses, Bayko supplied the Racecourse buildings and Dinky cars were the majority of the queue to get to the Racecourse.

One of the main events of this show is the Christmas lunch. A three course meal comprising Soup, Turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas Pudding and custard for only £6.50p. Two full sittings enabled over one hundred lunches to be served. I was able to join a table with Pat Hammond, Richard Bingham, Dave White , Clive Gehle and Mark Nolan (known for his articles in Collector Gazette) who was making his first visit to this show. He had heard about it and it was every thing he had been told and better, Mark had come on his bike from Inverness (OK he did hop on a train for part of the Journey)

A big thank you to the Buffet Staff , Karen Clements, Janet Tilley, Pav Pall, Brenda D’Arcy, Mary Staine, Audrey Foulds, Diane Johnson, Ian Draycott, Adam Draycott, Simon Draycott and Marilyn Draycott, Well done for not only the lunch but Bacon Rolls in the morning, Cakes after lunch and drinks all day long.

Finally well done Paul, friends and family for excelling once again with one of the nicest shows of the year.

Bob Leggett