On Saturday helped man the 009 Society stand at the London festival of railway modelling at Alexandra Palace. It's a long trip from Sussex needing a very early start and a late return, but it was good to see so much interest in 009. I'm sure the recent increase in the availability of ready-to-run has encouraged many to take an interest since getting started and building a decent layout is so much easier now. As well as the showcase, demo layout (which being a roundy-roundy at table height attracts the younger kids!), we had some copies of the 009 Society Handbook for sale - all had gone by mid-afternoon Saturday. There were lots of families, and it was also nice to see a range of ages showing interest, we may not see many younger (sub-40!) people in clubs but clearly they are interested in the hobby, one young man commenting that his generation couldn't expect to have a house in London but 009 looked suitable for a small space.
It's a big show but with two of us to man the stand we each had opportunity to look around, and it was good to see some old faces to chat to. Of course there are layouts for all interests, and I was pleased to find a few narrow gauge layouts. I didn't get a program so don't have all details.
Bunkers Lane in O9 is a new layout Bill Flude on the same theme as his Derwent Road layout (I last saw that at Fareham), inspired by the Leighton Buzzard Railway.
There's some lovely, subtle detailing and the setting of place and time work really well.
It was also nice to see Charlie Insley's French St-Etienne-en-Caux in H0e.
The terminus is reminiscent of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme.
Hook Basin by Richard Williams uses 1:25 scale and 16.5mm gauge to great effect, a simple yet engaging layout built in two "modules". This layout was also at Fareham last year. Richard pointed out the layout was over a decade old, although I still enjoy seeing it!
WWI Winter in France shows the military railways of the first world war in 009. Nice modelling of something we should never forget.
Richard Holder's Launceston is a superb model of the characterful preserved line in 009, a favourite of mine it had a crowd around it until late afternoon so clearly it was popular.
I also spotted this model of a Lartigue monorail tractor as used on a US mining line
, and featured in Narrow Gauge and Industrial magazine, so I presume shown by the builder Adrian Garner. Yes, it does work and movement was demonstrated!
Of the standard gauge layouts, one that surprised me was James Street. It's a large N-gauge layout with multiple tracks and trains circulating - which doesn't sound like my kind of layout. However, the scenery was beautifully done even if it was squeezed between the tracks, and the harbour scene with it's detailed ships was impressive. Not just one model ship, but many of them.
Copper Wort by Pete Goss is always a popular layout, and always worthy of another look.
Arcadia is clearly inspired by Colonel Stevens' light railways, and modelled in S scale. This is a scale that isn't chosen for any logical reason, other than the builder wants to scratch-build as much as possible, and so is worthy of respect. Usually, as in this case, the result looks superb and performs well too.
Next to our stand was this model of Moretonhampstead in 2mm scale. It is hard to believe it is such a small scale, it looks like P4 from stood further back!
So a large and busy show, with some excellent layouts, and nice to be back for the first time post-Covid. If the train strikes reduced numbers it wasn't obvious.