Tuesday 19 March 2024

Alexandra Palace - London Festival of Railway Modelling, 2024

 Last weekend I helped my friend Martin Collins exhibit his layout Llandecwyn at Alexandra Palace. 

The layout depicts a Welsh narrow gauge slate railway terminus and port, Martin displays a history with maps and photos of the "route" that is so convincing it fools a surprising number of people! I didn't get any photos from the front as there was a crowd there most of the two days, so you'll have to make do with an over-the-backscene shot...

Needing at least two and ideally three people to keep the sequence of operation moving at a reasonable pace to entertain, I had only a few short breaks to look around the rest of the large show. There was some other narrow gauge interest, including The Yard in O16.5, This features a working crane and radio control trucks to take away and bring loads for the wagons. 

Purgatory Peak on On30 is an impressive American mountainous layout featuring a switchback operated by geared locomotives, and some impressive trestle bridges.

Phil Parker had his cake-box 009 diorama (can I call it a pizza layout in a cake box?) with one of the new Bachmann models of the RNAD Baguley 60hp diesels - so new, they won't be on sale until May. Of course, it looks great and runs smoothly. 

I also spotted a prototype of the VoR 2-6-2 locos for ModelRail on the Revolution Trains stand. 

A few other layouts appealed, including Wantage, a detailed representation of the original including the town square the other side of the station building, and the trains too of course. 

Llawryglyn Cambrian Railways - a layout I've seen before, but its open uncrowded feel and subtle colouring makes for an attractive and realistic scene. 

East Quay also has subtle colouring but in a more compact, urban scene, with nicely made buildings. 

West End Drift is a compact model of a coal mine, with lots going on and even a little 009 for the mine trams, and a nice selection of industrial locos. 

Welby Lane RTC is an unusual model based on the Railway Technical Centre, which used to have an eclectic selection of research and prototype rail vehicles.

Shame there wasn't more narrow gauge in the selection of layouts but there were some good quality layouts. Operating Martin's layout was fun and it was good to hear so many nice comments about it, and the interest in narrow gauge and 009.

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