Report on the 24th Alresford Festival of Toy Trains held at Perins School, Alresford on 18th June 2016

Words & photos by Bob Leggett

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The 24th Alresford Show did not disappoint as over 600 visitors enjoyed the variety of layouts and 80+ sales tables together with live music, BBQ and Real Ale.

The Assembly Hall was the place for the smaller layouts and child friendly displays. Richard Upton had an excellent ‘purist’ Hornby Dublo 3-rail layout with A4s to the fore, alongside John Frankham who tried again to display the latest Hornby Digital system. In front of the stage Steve Knight and Marcus from the Kitmaster Society showed early Airfix RTR 00 gauge and had the Dr X and Wild West Train sets operating together with a display of Locomotives and Rolling stock.
Eric Large, who has exhibited at most of the Alresford shows, once again showed his excellent Tri-ang TT layout. This is always a delight to watch and is probably the busiest layout in the show with two levels and a full complement of Model-land and Continental buildings.

Train Collectors Society Alresford 2016
On the left Peter Ingleton had his wonderful N Gauge scenic layout with vintage Minitrix stock. However hidden amongst the layout I spotted several Lone Star Locomotives.
David and Judith Holmes was back in charge of Trix with a superb layout which had a US theme, much admired by the Trix fans.

Train Collectors Society Alresford 2016
In the middle of the hall were the two show layouts. The Chiltern Hills group had their large 2-rail layout full of Dublo buildings and neverwazzas and a fantastic range of Dublo and Wrenn rolling stock mainly to a Southern Theme.

Train Collectors Society Alresford 2016
Alongside was the Tri-ang bunch, led by Les Martin, who had a 24’ x 8’ Tri-ang Super 4 loose lay layout with Minic Motorway, Model Land and Arkitex buildings and a superb Pad-Tri-ton Station using five Tri-ang Hornby Canopies with two maroon station buildings and a high level track using over 20 viaducts.
The stage was the children’s dream area. Track Party had set up an incredible Tomy layout with a double spiral over 6’ tall.

Train Collectors Society Alresford 2016

Children were allowed to operate the trains without adults telling them not to touch! Also on stage Four Marks Scouts were operating a Hornby 00 Gauge Layout which had originally been donated by Hornby. The ever popular Brio layout donated by Brio in 2002 was always in demand. The organiser had also set aside a table with a large quantity of Lone-Star 000 to play with and during the day several layouts were set up and dismantled.

Also in the Hall Rod Hannah and Tony Penn from the TCS were manning an Information Stand and members of Sun Hill School organised the raffle for School funds.
Perins has built a new extension off the Assembly Hall and Peter Corish and fellow members of the Brickish Society set up a 40’ LEGO layout on the back wall. A very popular layout for young and old, there was also a play table full of bricks for children to play with.

Four Marks Scouts ran the buffet and there was a new spacious seating area in the extension for visitors to enjoy the refreshments.

Outside there were several sales table and Tri-ang Big Big which Dave Lyon kindly manned. Alresford Scouts were kept busy with the BBQ and Real Ale sales while Christian Vetch kept people happy with his smooth guitar Jazz.

Moving round to the Sports Hall we were hit with the distinct smell of live steam where the Bowman Circle yet again ran vintage locomotives all day. Alongside was Graham Bilbe who with help from John and Briony Hollands were running Gauge 1 - ‘Ancient and Modern’ was the theme with Bing and LGB running alongside each other. Even Thomas the Tank Engine put in an appearance. Next was Bryan Pentland with his Tinplate Treasures, incorporating, Monorails, Cable Cars, a small mountain and O gauge. There was also a fascinating display of Tin Houses. This was another fine layout.

Andrew Smart with the Mountbatten School Model Railway Club had two layouts. A weird yet wonderful O Gauge clockwork layout with wooden buildings and plenty of derailments as the clockwork locos thundered around the track. In the corner was a Tri-ang 00 gauge layout similar to the shop display layouts, using Standard and Series three track with 1960’s buildings by Tri-ang and Airfix and contemporary stock. This was a nice layout that had been restored by the club. The club was also the recipient of a cheque for £200 donated by John Hollands to help purchase more items.

Train Collectors Society Alresford 2016
Howard Star-Keddle and members of the HRCA Mortimer group put on a very nice layout and ran Hornby and modern Darstead and ACE Trains. Of particular note was the Tri-ang Spot-On Cotswold buildings and Tinplate vehicles which help make this a very attractive layout.

One of the quirkiest systems ever produced was the Faller 0 Gauge Hit Train System. Andy Hyelman set up a very attractive layout with plenty of operation including a shuttle in the goods yard. The style of the buildings really belong in a fairy tale and looking at it just brings a smile to my face.

Train Collectors Society Alresford 2016
Adam Heely with help from Bob Boorman set up a very impressive American O Gauge layout. This used Lionel and MTH plus other manufacturers and had a host of operating accessories. I heard several people praising this layout.

Hidden amongst the traders Clive Parker was running his neat Trix layout and had even managed to add more electrical accessories including fully lit points.

Over 80 sales tables gave visitors a choice of vintage and new toy and model trains and I understand several had their best ever day at the show.

Thank you to everyone who participated in making the show a success , in particular Four Marks Scouts for manning the traffic flow to the Car Park and Refreshments , Alresford Save the Children Branch for manning both Hall doors and Alresford Scouts for the BBQ and Real Ale.

The 25th Show is planned for Saturday 17th June 2017.

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