Alresford Festival of Toy Trains
usual many came on the Friday evening to set up and
avoid the normal rush hour of layouts being set up
against a deadline in the morning. Despite torrential
rain overnight, come the morning there was only a
dampness in the air which soon left giving us the
perfect day for a train show, bright with sunny
first visitors were the early birds who sought out the
bargains in the Sports Hall as well as from the traders
who were outside in the Courtyard.
People travel from quite a distance to the show and by
10.30 there was a large number of people enjoying the
Marklin Trains run by Richard Pretious on one side of
the courtyard. Richard was running live steam as well as
electric trains and had a captive audience all day.
doors opened a good crowd came straight into the
Assembly Hall where the smaller gauges were on display.
Members of the Alresford Save the Children Branch were
manning both doors and let people in as quickly as
first layout was a welcome return by Adrian Cassidy who
with family and friends including David Holmes had set
up a Trix DC layout on original Trix Vono Boards. This
was a very busy layout with a fully operational
conveyor. A pre-war Trix Coronation (converted to DC)
with a full rake of Coronation Coaches, an E3000 and a
blue Warship were running when I was there.
was John Frankham who had intended to show the new
Hornby Digital system, however some technical issues
kept the trains running to a minimum on an original
Hornby 1970’s pre-formed layout.
Roger and Barbara Burnish had their wonderful Hornby
Dublo 3-Rail layout with some very interesting repaints.
I was particularly impressed with an 0-6-2T in Thomas
colours pulling Annie and Clarabel. The Station scene
was also very attractive.
Kitmaster Society were displaying the range of models
produced in the 1950s and were selling a variety of toy
and model trains.
Along the front of the stage was a new layout for
Alresford. Kip Bennett and friends has set up Kip’s
intriguing 1.5m x 4.5m Hornby Dublo 3-Rail layout. This
was a fully scenic layout with one very interesting
omission. There are virtually no straight rails!!
Appropriately it is called Benton Curlieu and fascinated
those who have not seen it before.
the far wall Peter Corish and fellow members of the
Brickish Association had set up Lego trains and a
variety of Lego contraptions that kept the public
fascinated all day. A huge block of green bricks was
also left for visitors to play with. Many were
mesmerised by the cannonball run with small balls being
transported from one end of the display to the other by
various means. However one of the most outstanding items
in the hall was the 7’ high Lego Tower, I can’t imagine
how many bricks went into making it-someone will know!
centre of the room was taken over by the two main
layouts. Les Martin and Dave White and friends had set
up a 24’ x 6’6” layout using Tri-ang Super -4 track and
had a Southern Theme. Trains included Neil’s Smith’s
Tri-ang Brighton Belles in blue and cream liveries.
Minic Motorway by Neil Bowsher and Model Land set up by
Paul Rees completed this wonderful layout. A special
scene was created by Les around the engine shed where he
recreated an advert for Hovis using five Tri-ang EMU’s
with the appropriate headcodes.
to be outdone Derek Smith and Ron McCaskie with fellow
members of the Chiltern Vintage group were running Wrenn
on their huge Dublo 2-Rail layout. Some Wrenn collectors
were aghast to see what they considered rare Wrenn locos
running round with full rakes
or even longer goods trains-surely they should be
in boxes! I particularly liked seeing ‘Lyme Regis’ with
a rake of eight SR Pullmans.
to the Tri-ang layout was a late entry. Andrew Lance had
arrived from Wales very early on and asked if I would
like to display his recent find. He had an original
Tri-ang Shop display layout with Super-4 and Minic
Motorway. In need of restoration it was a good talking
point and Andrew managed to find several pieces for it
from the various traders.
The stage was full as ever with five displays. The
centre was taken over by ‘Track Party’ who were
operating a fantastic Tomy layout, with spirals, trains
going into and out of Thomas and lots of stop start
operations, this was very popular with the younger
visitors. No fewer than 13 trains were running at once.
the corner an old faithful, Brio was continuing to give
lots of fun to the very young. The organiser had also
set up a table for the visitors to play with a
collection of Lone Star 000 push-along, however it was
interesting to note that amongst the trains Clive Gehle
spotted a rare Minitrix push-along Warship and uncommon
Lone Star 2-6-2 in green.
Marks Scouts had their early Hornby 00 Gauge Scaledale
layout with stock provided originally by Hornby. This
was open for visitors to operate and was very popular.
last layout on the stage celebrated
50 years since
the death of Winston
Churchill. Nick Gillman, John Bruce and Ray Jones used
Nick’s Peco streamline layout and ran a replica Funeral
Train using a Tri-ang Winston Churchill and adapted
stock. What fascinated most people was the large V on
the front of the engine, this is rarely seen in photos
and came as a surprise to me. Nick also ran an Airfix
motorised Biggin Hill with a patriotic train of Red,
White and Blue bogie tankers.
All that was
missing was a Spitfire and Lancaster.
Moving out to the Sports Hall we go through the
courtyard which is now busy with the Scouts selling
Burgers and Real Ale and from Noon-3pm the Duo Dogwood
Flowers were singing songs from the 1960’s to present
and thoroughly entertained visitors as they ate their
food and drink and watched the trains.
Sports Hall is where all the larger Gauge layouts are
and the majority of Sales Tables.
As we enter, on the left Will Temple and members of the
Bowman group were having a great time running the full
complement of Bowman live steam locomotives from the
1920’s onwards. Also seen running was an appropriately
named clockwork Marx flyer and a wonderful
handbuilt North London Tank by Mike Swain and wooden
coaches built by his father -in -law many years ago. A
couple of Bassett-Lowke Locomotives were also seen
Along the wall we come to Bryan Pentland with his
excellent Tinplate Treasures. This year he had a
restored three car Kraus Fandor battery converted set
running on original extended high level Disney plastic
monorail, Bryan also had a Marx electric flyer running
round the outside while I was passing, There was lots of
Tinplate buildings and accessories to view on this
the corner Andrew Smart with family and friends had two
layouts. The first was a unique Clockwork O gauge layout
with a collection of scratch-built wooden buildings
including Stations, Engine Shed and Signal boxes,
scenery was made using egg boxes and running was Hornby
trains, I also spotted a new Station building this year
which may have been made from a Hobbies plan.
second layout was a mix of Lego and Tri-ang Big Big, a
very colourful layout with lots of operating accessories
and was a great
hit with the youngsters.
Howard Star-Keddle and fellow members of the Mortimer
HRCA group had again set up their Hornby O gauge layout.
With a Bayko Village and Dinky vehicles, full signalling
and scenic treats all round the layout
this was up to its usual high standards. With a
Southern theme the scene was complete with a variety of
Southern locos from Hornby, Ace and Darstaed on show.
the middle John and Briony Holland again treated us to
their lovely collection of O Gauge clockwork trains with
the occasional battery operated loco giving them a rest.
A great display of various trains helped make this a
Clark was returning after several years away with his
excellent Tri-ang Big Big display. One could not miss
this layout with the huge poster which gave a good back
scene. Mike had all the Tri-ang range on show and
running as well as the Hong Kong ‘Red Rocket’ copy.
Heeley with help from Bob Boormann went Continental with
their French and German O gauge layout. French Hornby
with a magnificent ‘Marseille’ station and uncommon
early post war wooden bridge and Jep provided the French
runners and Marklin the German stock. Adam is a master
with scenic detail and I spotted Tin Tin and Snowy
waiting at the crossing in
bright blue limo
a Schuco varianto Van running in the centre of the
layout, The Tour de France was also spotted on this fun
usual hidden amongst the traders was Clive Parker with
his neat Trix layout which once again impressed visitors
with the amount one can get into a small space and still
make it interesting, no one can say they do not have
enough room for a layout!
Traders from all over the country came to the show and
general reports were it was a good trading day. Some
were similar to last year or slightly down but up on
punters with full bags and several purchases ended up on
During the show the Sun Hill
ran the raffle and raised over £300 with prizes kindly
donated by Hornby Hobbies and the Watercress Line. The
TCS stand was busy most of the day and new members were
Scouts and Save the Children received significant
donations for organising car parking and the Door Rota.
Both Four Marks and Alresford and Cheriton Scouts also
raised money from organising the refreshments, BBQ and
Thank you to all who came, exhibited, helped and traded
as it is everyone together that makes a good show.
years Show is Sat June 18th (3rd