Report on the 2006 Summer Show held at Sandy ? July 2006

Words by Tony Stanford, photos by Dave McCarthy

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“You will be able to do a report on the show, Tony”, was the authoritative not really-a-question from our Chairman, David Ramsey. “Of course” was my reply, without engaging enough brain to think of a good excuse. But what do you write about a show like Sandy? It was as ever a great couple of days, with probably the largest assembly of different sorts of toy trains running under one roof in the UK, with the emphasis on running. Probably the best way to get a feel of what it was like (if you did not make it), or to remind you if you did come, is to take a tour, ignoring any need to queue to get in or to pay an entrance fee!

Straight in front of you as you walked into the entrance hall was Dave White’s combined Tri-ang Railways and Minic Motorways layout. Lots running and with a signal that visitors could use to stop and start a train. More than one younger enthusiast had to be dragged away by parents! If you looked to your left as you entered you would have seen the TCS stand with the ‘test track’ set up for pretty well any make and any gauge (OK, not Minic 10¼“). And a little beyond that was I think the smallest gauge represented, with Elaine (and Andy) Hyelman’s delightful Zaziwil Z gauge layout using Märklin Mini-club stock. And while I may not have seen pigs fly I certainly saw some running fairly quickly on this layout!  And at the other side of the entrance Hall was Pat Hammond, with his display of Hornby electric outline locos as well as sales of his books. Perhaps of as much interest to TCS members was a mock up of the cover of the “Train Collector”, which is what the TCS News is to be relaunched as from December, with Pat as editor.

Into the second hall the first sight to greet you was Duke Street, Derek Smith’s Hornby Dublo 2-rail layout, a feast of later Binns Road products. Appropriately, the HRCA had the stand next door. Moving a little further into the hall you almost ‘crossed the Channel’ as directly ahead of you was Brian Peters’ great show of French O gauge Hornby. And next to Brian was more O gauge from across even more water, Paul Draycott’s Lionel layout, with items from the almost one hundred years of Lionel O gauge. Not just trains but plenty of accessories, including many of the operating ones that give this make its special fascination. Paul also had some interesting cameos on this layout – I think with some hidden messages – Custard’s last stand?

Turn right from Lionel and we were in commuter land, with a difference – Bob Leggett’s layout EMU Heaven was running a great variety of OO multiple units, with a regularity that some modern franchisees should copy!  And opposite Paul, to complete this hall’s display was Robin Brogden’s Museum of Transport, a transport museum model with much more than trains on display (not to mention a brass band that seemed always happy to play).

Moving on into hall 3 were four more fascinating displays. To your left was Roger Burnish’s Hornby Dublo 3-rail layout complete with appropriate accessories - a really attractive show of ‘classic period’ Dublo. Ahead was a display of Meccano, set up by Ivor Walton, that used Meccano from many different periods, demonstrating the consistency of the system (and the range of colours!). The other half of the hall might be considered the opposition! David Coddington had put on a great layout and display of Tri-ang Transcontinental and later Tri-ang Hornby and Hornby made for overseas markets, with plenty running but also many other items to view. David Lyon had an attractive display of Tri-ang Minic Motorways (well there was a train but the roadway was the main attraction) showing yet again what a comprehensive toy system Lines Bros. produced.

Next stop was the sports hall, the largest room used. Most of the traders were here, with over 20 stalls offering virtually every sort of toy train and model railway item, related material, videos etc. There were of course also plenty of layouts. Walking into the hall and turning left you first came to the by now traditional but none-the-less very welcome display of Bayko and other building construction systems by Robin Thorp and colleagues. Next door Simon Culverhouse had something a little different, a display of British model railway magazines and books on model railways. Incredibly there were nearly 40 different magazine titles on display.

Alongside these magazines the Friends of the National Railway Museum with a variety of information, publications and other items for us to help support this organisation (remember Any Make, Any Gauge!)  A little further on and you would come to Brian Arnold’s Trix Twin Railways layout, this year with both bakelite- and fibre-based track and running AC and DC trains. A lovely display of this maker’s products, and Brian was also promoting the TTRCA from an adjacent stand.

On the far wall Miles Roland had a multi-track Tri-ang Super 4 layout with plenty running and was also promoting the Tri-ang Society. Next to him Phil Goater had the rather larger Tri-ang Big-Big trains showing their paces, together with the later Novo versions and other items.

Opposite this was some “small small” Tri-ang, with Reg Harman running a good layout of Tri-ang TT. Incredible to realise that the newest of these must be 40 years old now. Reg also had an interesting display of static die-cast locos and trains here.

Moving across the hall we reach the other side, with an even smaller set of working trains - Malcolm Hughes Bygone Model Railways ‘layout in a suitcase’ built with Lone Star 000 trains and accessories, plus a supporting stand. Malcolm is a fairly new member of the TCS, so it was great to see him here and with such an attractive display.

Next door Jennifer and Paul Brookes showcased some of the products of Hugar, mainly a maker of wooden accessories under their own brand or for others, but also including an EMU train set in OO. Moving up a scale Dave Peasant had his vintage gauge O layout with stock from Bassett Lowke, Hornby, Leeds, etc. and with appropriate accessories including Minic (tinplate) vehicles and Britain’s Farm. Even larger, along from this was Peter Dunk’s layout of gauge 1 tinplate, some genuinely vintage by Märklin, Carrette and Bing and some his own creations in the same style.

Then at the front was the ‘US’ division. In the corner was Girard Junction, a small but perfectly formed layout showing 1930s US toy trains in O gauge, Lionel, Marx and American Flyer. While not based on a specific example, it had the feel of one of those shop displays of my youth. Next to this Neil Trump was running a great variety of Gilbert American Flyer S gauge trains. These were the 2-rail competitors to Lionel in the post-war period, more realistic in many ways and just a little smaller in scale, but not much seen in the UK at that time. Neil, who had in fact stepped in for Mike Flye on this occasion, certainly remedies this at our shows.

But after all that excitement perhaps you needed some refreshment? So make your way back through the halls already mentioned to the entrance area and into hall 1 (passing at the entrance former organiser Mike Fowler showing his Tri-ang and Hornby Dublo videos, now also available on DVD). Right in the entrance to this hall was Stephen Knight with the Kitmaster Club display. Turning right Richard Deas was exhibiting his Tri-ang Hornby Collection, a layout and display based on the products of Rovex from 1964 to 1972. What made this distinctive was the framing, as if at a trade show or just a very large window box!

Next came Peter Berry with his display of Graham Farish and other less common OO makes. A Scalemaster streamliner or two looked particularly ‘different’, perhaps what might have been had Lowey ever shrouded a UK locomotive. Next to Peter David Holmes was showing If Only – an 00-9 model layout of a miniature ‘garden’ or perhaps estate railway – what David would build if he won the lottery (there are Fairlies at the bottom of his garden!).

Opposite Davis and Peter you could see Grandad’s Trains. This layout, exhibited by Terry Durrant, was a wonderful assembly of pre-war gauge O tinplate, mainly Hornby and Bassett Lowke, and with many lighted Hornby accessories, all working.

Turn left past Terry to find David Holt with his scenic layout showing off the more modern Trix 2-rail and British Lilliput range, a fascinating contrast with Brian Arnold’s display. Continuing round to you left were three layouts. First was a Playmobile layout (G scale) set up by Brian Pentland and intended very much to allow the younger visitors to play with trains themselves. A great idea and it seemed popular, particular the radio remote control, though I am not convinced just with the youngsters! Alongside was Brian’s mainly Marx tinplate layout, which provided an interesting contrast, though in many ways had just as much play value. Finally on this side was Paul Williams with his USA Tinplate Trains, complementing Brian with more Marx and other US tinplate streamliners.

Opposite these layouts Geoff Spriggs had a delightful and compact O gauge layout using Hornby and Basset Lowke running, and with some attractive combinations of their ranges. Next to Geoff was Ashley Barton with 3 Oaks - subtitled a Big Train Set. This OO gauge layout made extensive use of plastic kits and commercial accessories as available in the later 50s and 60s and really gave the feel of a “family layout” or that period.

Well you now really deserve that tea and cake or, as it was a very hot day, perhaps an ice-cream, and a few steps will take you to the catering area. Then of course you will want look round again …

I hope that this gives those who were unable to make it an idea of what was on show, and will serve as a reminder to those who did join us. An event like this does not just happen by itself and I must record thanks to all those who contributed to another great Sandy, to all the exhibitors who allowed us to join them playing with their trains, and apologies if I have inadvertently missed any one from my review; to all the traders for supporting us; to the staff of the school who provided refreshments an a lot more behind the scenes; to the team who helped set up and break down the exhibition, in particular those members of the Bassett Lowke Society and the Sandy Transport Society who joined us; to those TCS members such as James Day, Malcolm Pugh and Rod Hannah who worked for three days both setting up and staffing the show, to John Forman for producing the programme, to Eric Large who did the hard work in fitting all those layouts and stands into the room we had, to Peter Gomm and colleagues for out vintage bus transfer, to Mike Fowler who at times was anything but retiring in helping out, to Roy Smith and his team, and last but not least David Ramsey, who took over running of the show back in May when for health reasons I had to take a back seat. Ladies and Gentlemen, raise your glasses! And profuse apologies for anybody inadvertently omitted.

Finally I would like to say “hope to see you at Sandy in 2007”. But at the time of writing there is some doubt as to whether there will be an event next year, or if there is, what will be its nature. The reason is primarily escalating hall hire costs. Negotiations are in hand, and members will of course be informed of the outcome.

More photos by Dave McCarthy

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