I've always had a soft spot for Banbury show. Years ago we were booked in with Melbridge Dock and at the time had no more appearances in the diary. After a fun day, we took home 9 invitations to other shows.
Since then we've exhibited there with all our layouts. It's only half an hour away and we'd go as visitors anyway. Taking a layout gets you in for free and even petrol money.
Cutting back on the shows means we pay to go in but it's a pleasant little show not far from home. The sort where you find unexpected layouts you've never seen before and trade that can't afford the big events but still have interesting goodies to empty the wallet.
And the cakes are good.
Layouts were mixed. Some typical local show basic models but there were treats too. Muldale is a lovely small O16.5 industrial model. Perhaps the stock is a bit standard NG with more emphasis on using OO chassis than prototype fidelity but it's OK. The buildings though - brilliant.
Lots of cameos and character. Finescalers would probably get sniffy but in five feet of model there was more life than many a 30 foot "proper" railway.
In HO, Salz station used the trick of hiding the railway a little. You had to view peering over into the scene, which was well modelled and not too clean.
In fact the entire back wall of the show was good. OK, I'd seen all the other models before (can't remember all the names and there wasn't a guide sadly) but for a local show, it was punching above it's weight.
Exhibition organiser Andrew Carter is working on a very interesting looking quarry layout which appeared as a work in progress but shows great potential, especially the rock crushing plant. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.
Trade was mostly RTR and second hand but the Oxford Rail Society sold me a couple of very old Modelcraft lineside kits for no money, at least one will make an interesting blog project one day. I also came away with a large Ian Allan railway club sign - the name in the middle of a cutout GWR loco photo. It's been in a shop window judging by the discolouration on one side but far too good to leave for £3 if you have an interest in publishing.
Sadly, this is likely to be the last Banbury. Andrew is giving up and no-one is interested in taking over. You can read the full story on MREmag. Sadly, this is all too common in smaller clubs.
Once the show was the event in the year. Now most of the members aren't interested. I know that a very small percentage of those at my own club actually visit a show other than our own so I can understand why they aren't bothered and it is an awful lot of work. Worse, the crowded calendar makes booking the layouts and trade you want ever more of a challenge.
Photos from Banbury over on Flickr