Didcot Model Railway Exhibition

In having my little P G Models business running side-by-side with my Haverfordwest railway layout, I am finding that a number of people who started as just my customers are now becoming good friends.  One of these is Martin Cussell who is a member of the Abingdon and District Model Railway club.  A few months ago he asked if I would be interested in attending a show that his club were putting on in Didcot, to which I readily agreed that I would.

Looking down at the Goods Yard

Looking down at the Goods Yard


Following on from exhibiting my Haverfordwest layout at the Cardiff Model Railway Exhibition two weeks ago, last Saturday I showed it again, at the Didcot Model Railway Exhibition, just south of Abingdon/Oxford.  At the Cardiff show I was particularly pleased to have some much appreciated help from Neal Mansell, who is an extremely experienced N gauge railway modeller.  Neal has bought a considerable number of my models, and saw my Haverfordwest layout at the show in Cardiff for the first time.  After the Cardiff show he  offered to come along to Didcot to give me a hand, to which I readily agreed.

The military train being loaded

The military train being loaded

I got to the venue early in the morning as this was just a one day show, and I needed to make sure that I could set it up quickly enough to de-bug any running problems that I always seem to get at the start of a show.  I am particularly grateful to the help given to me by the show organisers who helped me unload the van that I hired to take the layout to their show.  This was done in a record speed with three of us unloading.  Neal soon joined me and helped me set up the layout in an equally quick time.  Having an experienced railway modeller such as Neal helping me out made a world of a difference.  In a matter of minutes we had trains working on the layout before the show opened at 10 am.  And yes, there were a few issues with wagons uncoupling, but not as many as usual, which was also partially due to exhibiting it just two weeks earlier where we managed to clear up a few long-standing issues that I’ve had with the layout.

Looking down on the Goods Shed

Looking down on the Goods Shed

I was joined at the show by my friend David Payne who is a long-standing member of the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA) who I have known for many years, but he’s never seen my Haverfordwest layout before.  David is also an experienced military photographer (in ‘real life’ 1:1 scale) and has had his photos and articles published in a number of magazines.  All of the photos in this blog post are from David who has kindly let me use them here.  Photographing this thing is surprisingly difficult as you are trying to photograph some tiny little models that are on a 12 foot layout, so you need to get as much depth of field as you can.

A train of Warriors passing an Armoured Ambulance train

A train of Warriors passing an Armoured Ambulance train

I found that it is a really huge learning curve to have an experienced railway modeller helping you to operate the layout.  I may have 45 years of experience in making military models, but when it comes to things moving, and having electrical power to make them move, I am a complete and utter novice.  I keep reminding myself that this is my first model railway layout, which I am sure experienced railway modellers can spot a mile away.  Some of the tips and ideas that Neal had during the course of the day were extremely useful.  One simple suggestion was to run both my train of Warriors, and my Armoured Ambulance train at the same time, one clockwise and the other anti-clockwise as you can see here in the photo.  This is something that I’ve never done before, but as Neal said, the layout is a good showcase for my little models, and this way they can be shown to the maximum.

Later on at around lunchtime I was joined by my friend Mike Gill who had also offered to give me a hand with the layout, both during the day and also to load up at the end of the show, and back home to unload the van.  Mike planned to come to the show by train as Cardiff and Didcot are on the same main-line from London to South Wales.  However, at the present they are electrifying the line from Paddington in London through to Cardiff.  Mike managed to get a train from Cardiff through to Swindon, but then had to go on a bus from there to Didcot as the railway line was closed for weekend work on the electrification.  So his trip to join me turned out to be quite a marathon.  His help, especially at the end, was much appreciated.

The two of us behind the layout

The two of us behind the layout

And finally, here’s something you don’t normally see, me in front of the camera lens.  I’m the short fat hairy one!  It’s always hard work lugging this layout to and from shows, especially for one day shows such as this, but every time the layout gets exhibited it always seems to get a large amount of interest in it, which makes it worth the effort.

Thanks again to Martin Cussell for the initial invitation to the show, to Neal Mansell for all of his help, advice and suggestions throughout the day, to Mike Gill to help in operating the layout and the stuff at the end, and thanks too to David Payne for such good quality photos.

My next show will be as a trader with my P G Models stand at the IPMS (International Plastic Modellers Society) Scale Modelworld show at the Telford International Centre on the 12th & 13th November.  I shall be in Hall 2 in a similar spot to last year, but a few stalls further along, in block 2A, stall E6.




One Response to “Didcot Model Railway Exhibition”

  1. christopherpflueger Says:

    It is a beautiful creation! Congratulations.

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