Model railways make a fine show in Bexhill

Bexhill mini railway two SUS-180816-114020001
Bexhill mini railway two SUS-180816-114020001

Attention to detail knows no limits where model railway enthusiasts are concerned.

As an example, it takes a sharp eye to spot the lengths to which Bexhill Model Railway Club member Tony Gillard will go.

Bexhill mini railway 1 SUS-180816-113924001

Bexhill mini railway 1 SUS-180816-113924001

Tony was among dozens of exhibitors – some from as far afield as Brighton and Canterbury – taking part in the Bexhill club’s annual model railway exhibition.

Classrooms and corridors, dining room and hall at St Richard’s Catholic College in Ashdown Road were transformed on Saturday.

Enthusiasts queued to buy locomotives and track, scenery and electric controllers at the many trade stalls.

Youngsters could try their hand operating a lay-out designed for the purpose.

Bexhillian Pete Bossom was kept busy dropping material from a silo into a line of waiting wagons on his 3mm scale gypsum works siding “Hoath Hill.”

Tony Hill may be from Folkestone, in Kent, but his SM32-gauge Melin Llechi slate quarry layout revealed the wealth of period detail he had absorbed from visits to North Wales.

Tony had used tiny pieces of real slate to load a typical goods wagon. “They used to leave one slate standing upright to steady the load in transit to the docks. The order number would be written on the slate.”

And it was.

David Goldfinch and Mark Fletcher of the City of Canterbury club were demonstrating how to fit a quart into the proverbial pint pot with N-gauge Dydley Junction with realistic-length trains running in a 4ftx2ft space.

“Grimy and run-down” was the intentional order of the day for Martin Hendry’s evocation of the Reliant three-wheeler works at Tamworth in the Sixties.

At a small, eye-level layout publicising a larger format, Paul Honey displayed missionary zeal on behalf of the O-Gauge Guild. “I’m the guild’s representative for the south east,” he explained.

So what’s special about o-gauge?

“As you get older your hands get less nimble and your eyesight fails, Therefore, O-gauge is a nice gauge because it is less fiddly so you find it tends to appeal to older modellers.

“The thing about o-gauge is that you get ‘presence.’ You get ‘bonk’ if you know what I mean. There’s more detail because it’s so much bigger.”

Tony Gillard can devote 100 hours to making a scratch-built structure such as the police station he was exhibiting. The tiny police car outside was complete with radio aerial.

“It’s a cat’s whisker – literally!” Tony explained.

Well, when a beloved pet dies it is a shame to waste a golden opportunity to give that authentic look.