The Lutterworth model railway exhibition programme is unusual in that it's written in the manner of a tour guide for the event. If a visitor starts at stand 1 and reads each entry, they get a pleasant tour of the show. Our entry read as follows:
No3 Flockburgh - Phil Parker
The next layout is somewhat unusual in so far that this mdoel is based on a scale of 3mm to the foot, everything is just that bit smaller than OO gauge. These are quite rare owing to the fact that the modeller has to make most of the pieces himself. Kits are available with the aid of the 3mm Society for the modeller to build rolling stock. The layout was intended to be a test bed for trying out 3mm stock and represents a small branch line on the English/Scottish border circa 1960s. The track was hand built as were the rolling stock and locos. The operators will be pleased to answer any questions.
Writing a programme in this style is a fair bit of hard work for the editor - no cut'n'paste from the supplied texts - but it makes a change. I couldn't see it working for a large event but when you are hoping for a large contingent of non-enthusiasts through the door then it makes perfect sense.
The show wasn't large, but for their 40th Anniversary a sports hall had been hired. It's a cracking venue, large enough, warm enough, bright, and with a good floor. There was plenty of circulating room too.
There were a couple of layouts that really appealed too. "Layout Phil would build" award goes to Tremore. Taking a parkway station as its prototype, it is compact any yet has intensive operation, albeit automatic and consisting (prototypically) of a single car DMU shuttling back and forth. For added excitement, an 08 shunts a few wagons in the background. I've been looking for ideas in this area myself and now feel a bit inspired to have another go.
On the other side of the aisle was Rowthorne, a different proposition. Whilst still OO, this is a 13ft long roundy-roundy with a small station and modest fiddle yard. I could quickly see where the buildings had been sourced and appreciated that this was very much an attainable model for anyone with the space to build it. For the average exhibition visitor, it licks a lot of boxes. You can let the trans circulate or do a bit of shunting. While there is a bit of building required, not too much and using Peco track on simple baseboards would see the builder with a layout operating pretty quickly. Amongst all the finescale stuff, this is probably more important as it helps get people into building things. I bet a few left the show with new enthusiasm after watching it.
We weren't the only 3mm layout in the hall either. One stand away was Hemlock. The gauge this time is 12mm and (boo) it's Great Western. Mind you, he could run a Class 22 without being wrong !
Finally, the all important food note: Tea - Good and free to exhibitors. Cake - None. Lunch - Excellent - Thanks to The Frank Whittle pub to whom the task was contracted by the show. (You can see it here but it was obviously called The Balloon when Google visited)
Oh, and I won 2 raffle prizes ! A book on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway plus a DVD of Express steam trains. This IS a first.
More photos on Flickr.