Well, it was just like a blast from the past, almost exactly 18 months since the last TCS show due to COVID restrictions, the wonderful sound of Toy Trains running on metal and plastic track was music to our ears.
Despite our trepidation that only the exhibitors and traders would turn up, it was a delight to see so many old friends and new acquaintances come along for what was a lovely day, playing, selling, buying and talking Toy Trains!
I was fortunate to arrive the night before and was able to set up my sales stall and have a chat and a meal with fellow exhibitors and traders.
By 8.30am on Saturday morning the setting up was in full swing and it was obvious there was such a lot of joy from everyone that we were actually here.
As usual I will write my report through the eyes of a visitor coming to the show, the first stall is very sad, on the club stand (Fig 1) there was a photo and tribute to Rod Hannah who sadly died last December, Rod was a great stalwart for the club and a Committee member who for more than ten years had been presenting the club to visitors at the TCS shows and others shows such as Alresford and Beckenham. He will be sadly missed.
Members of the Holy Trinity Church were manning the entrance and were busy up to 2pm when numbers began to slow down.
The first stall you will see is the Club Bring and Buy stand (Fig 2) which was manned by Malcolm Pugh and friends Carol and Edwin Spencer and David and Postlethwaite. There was a steady flow of items from members to sell with a percentage going to the club as well as donated items.
Several interesting sales included a David Belshaw Hornby-Dublo wooden reproduction of the pre-war Main Line Station for £60 (Fig 3), Dublo 0-6-0 Passenger Set for £40 and 8F for £45, Tri-ang Electra for £45.
I spotted an LGB Train set for £155 which remained unsold (Fig 4), there was a variety of Hornby 0 Gauge wagons, three selling for £65 and a complete Hornby-Dublo 3-Rail layout on a board for £60 which did not sell. Malcolm advised sales were over £640 and with donations just over £100 had been raised for the TCS, well done.
Opposite Dave Angell had filled 18' of table with Tri-ang , Tri-ang Hornby and Hornby models (Fig 5) and had a rare Tri-ang Canadian Set 673 for £200 (Fig 6) which I hear one lucky punter took home.
Leon Mills was selling ACE Trains and had their latest 2-8-0 for sale, (Fig 7), another excellent model which will no doubt will be a great seller. Leon was also selling some second hand Tri-ang and Hornby 00 Gauge for a friend .
Opposite, Chairman Bryan Pentland and joint organiser of the show in conjunction with Paul Draycott had a display of Paya 0 Gauge Trains and vehicles (Fig 8),
Bryan had a twin circuit and an overhead line plus a single electric Motorway, I loved the clockwork bus which Bryan had converted to electric and added Passengers (Fig 9), Steam and Diesel Railcars were also running around from the system that started in 1930 and finished in the 1960's.
One of the the first Steam Locos from 1930's was also on display (Fig 10)
We now move into the small hall with the familiar sound of hoots and whistles from James Day's American outline HO Gauge layout featuring Life Like Trains, Tyco electric Roadway (1981-1986) and various accessories by Tyco, Life Like, Pola and others (Fig 11)
This was truly an amazing effort. James helped by Malcolm Pugh and new member, Derek Bond started setting up the layout 1pm Friday, there were low level and high level Railways and Motorway with trains, lorries and cars running constantly, ringing bells and flashing lights as the Trains ran over the road/rail crossing. There was a stop-go switch for young enthusiasts to enjoy (Fig 12), one of James's recent purchases was a New York Transit set by Life Like (Fig 13).
On the TCS Facebook group James had been discussing the rare MacDonald's Drive Thru (Fig 14) as well as other Fast Food outlets (Fig 15 and 16).
Derek Bond is also a 3D printing expert and showed various Minic Motorway developments (Fig 17) as well as parts for converting a Tri-ang Blue Pullman Parlour Car to Kitchen Car (Fig 18).
At the far end, David Peasant and his Uncle Peter had a scenic 0 Gauge layout with accessories by Tri-ang including Minic vehicles.
A variety of stock was running, including modified Hornby 0-4-0 (Fig 19), an ACE M7 and other makers.
Always a very pleasing layout with wonderful scenic effects filling every inch of the board, I was particularly taken by the very small field full of grazing cattle (Fig 20).
Alongside Dave Bowens was selling mainly Hornby-Dublo, on the left Colin Totem of Raylo was delighted to be back and showing the latest model to come out, a wonderful LNER Atlantic (Fig 21), Colin explained a Southern and LSBC version will be out in the near future.
Other items selling well were the various copies of the Bassett-Lowke wagon loads which looked superb (Fig 22).
We now move into the main hall and along the passageway was Mick French with hundreds of Railway books for sale, covering full scale to models, there was something for everyone, Mick reported steady trade.
On the Stage David Knighton, Jonathan Ward and his son Oliver had set up an O Gauge layout based on Wembley/ BR LMR, I spotted an ACE 2-10-0 with a train full of bogie Tank wagons (Fig 23) and a Douglas Models Derby Lightweight Railcar in the siding (Fig 23a), however, the star of the layout was a model of the English Electrics short lived GT3 (Fig 24) built by Jonathan, a Gas Turbine Loco that was at times shedded in Leicester. A very impressive layout with stock running well all day,
On the right was Steve Smith with his comprehensive Tri-ang Big Big layout (Fig 25) with later re-incarnations from Hong Kong and Russia.
I made Steve set up a Hymek Heaven (Fig 26) as well as noticing not one but four hard to find continental Tanks stabled up in the siding (Fig 27).
In the top right corner, Bill and Rachel Vyse had a scenic Hornby 0 Gauge layout called Southdown and as you would expect featured a Southdown Railway Coach bar (Fig 28), Buses by Corgi (Fig 29) and other makers with Hornby SR Trains (Fig 30) running round a colourful and fun layout, aided by the inclusion of Bayko Buildings.
On the far left, the final layout was David Holt's excellent early 1950's 00 Gauge Model Railway.
David was accompanied by Brian Arnold most of the day (Fig 31). I was very impressed with the Wilson Octopus Streamline lorry (Fig 32) and the Utility Bus (Fig 33) which David had made from plans supplied by David Nevett.
Also running was a ? Railbus (Fig 33) and in the siding a rare ?…. Coach (Fig 34)
Alongside, Rob Hampton was selling mainly Tri-ang TT and 00 Gauge stock (Fig 35),
further along David Ramsey was still thinning out his collection, I caught him having a chat with Editor Nicholas Oddy (Fig 36) who was opposite, selling a selection of unusual trains, including a rare Guntherman Floor Train for only £45 (Fig 37).
In the middle corner of the Hall, Dave 'Chalky' White and Les Martin with help from Neil Smith had a superb Southern Themed Tri-ang, Tri-ang Hornby and Hornby and other makers layout (Fig 38).
A Bradshaw Southern Art Deco Signal box did not look out of place (Fig 39), Les had set up the famous Southern Railway Hovis advert using a Dublo 4-road Engine Shed (Fig 39a),
Neil Smith's superbly converted Tri-ang Brighton Belle was running most of the day (Fig 40).
Dave was also showing off his recent eBay purchased, a repainted Dock shunter named 'Chalky'! (Fig 41).
The rest of the middle of the hall was filled by Traders, Nick Dean with his partner Maria (Fig 42) trading as Check Rail had N Gauge and 00 as well as a display and test rail in the middle (Fig 43). Nick is a fairly recent trader to these shows and reported his best day so far.
Dixon Upcott had an excellent variety of stock, of course plenty of Trix however, many other accessories as well (Fig 44).
Bob Leggett had his usual collection of anything goes, as seen from this busy scene of the room around 11.30 with Graham Bilbe in the foreground manning my stall (Fig 45).
Late arrival at the show, was of course Simon Goodyear, who can be seen setting up his stall in this view of the left side of the hall (Fig 46),
Simon also had a rare Elastolin composition made tunnel (Fig 47 and 47a) and an Ingap Metro Floor Train (Fig 48)
Lunch and refreshments including Bacon rolls in the morning was run by the members of Trinity Church, Daphne Sargent, Judith Saunders, Mary Starie, Elaine Priestley, Adam, Paul and Marilyn Draycott. It's very easy to say it was up to the usual good standards. Honestly, the food was fantastic with Shepherd's Pie as the main course (Fig 49), followed by the best blackberry and apple crumble I can remember, other puddings were available!
The Draycott family put so much into this show and I was fortunate to catch a photo of Paul, Marilyn and Adam near the end of the show (Fig 50)
Well done to all the Exhibitors and Traders for such excellent layouts and sales tables. Thanks to all the visitors who came from far and wide.
Finally, a huge thank you to Bryan Pentland and Paul Draycott for the great day out. It's not easy organising these shows and they got is as Tri-ang would say 'Spot-On'! Bryan told me at the end that despite planning for a loss, the show has made a small profit. Well Done.
Author Bob Leggett