Show Reports

WarleyShow 22nd to 23rd November 2008

The Warley Show was held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on 22nd and 23rd of November. This show normally happens in December, but had to be moved due to another show taking place at the Warley Shows normal time. Set up day was on Friday 21st with a good attendance by the BGRS club members turning up on that day. We had finished the build by 19-00 and everything was left in working order for operational running on Saturday.


Once at the show we connected to the power. The power was not available so we steamed up some steamers and ran the battery shunter to at least give some sort of display to the early entry public. BGRS was not the only stand to be affected by the power outage, the G-Scale stand and the Gauge 1 layout were also affected along with some other smaller layouts in the local area within the hall. The reason for the lack of operational power was not due to BGRS, but due to other users in the local area not declaring how much power they required and overloading the mains trips. After a while all was up and running and we were able to put on the show.

As a change to the running we decided to not only run live steam on the inside track as normal but run live steam on the outside track in the other direction. This is done tender first allowing the steam train operator to still see the pressure gauge and water glass, thus being able to keep an eye on the operation of the steam locomotive. To also change a way of running, the steam loco was used to go and get stock from the sidings near Penn Street, which are normally hauled by electric traction.

One problem we encountered by doing this is where do you pull in for more gas and water, as the only real places available are on the main line? Operationally, the steam operators decided to keep as much as possible one of the few sidings available free of stock, allowing a siding to be available for the purpose of refuelling when required. This worked quite successfully with one occasion having an electric shunter remove the rolling stock and take it back to the Penn Street sidings.

The rest of the day ran fine until later in the afternoon when the ‘MTS stack’ stopped working. The steam team carried on running live steam and the electric operators controlled routing manually while this was sorted out. Fortunatly, one of the BGRS members had brought a spare ‘MTS stack’ and this was substituted for the old MTS stack to get things going. After a period of time the original ‘MTS stack’ was retried and appeared to be working again. So it looks like the problem was overheating and not total failure of a module in the stack. We finished operating at 17-30. The day had been a busy one with a crowded exhibition and many comments from the public about what we do. A worthwhile day of operating.


Start time for the show was again early with Pre-paid membersof the public being let into the show at 09-30. We managed to get to the show by 09-00 allowing us some time to get going. Power was OK this time so we could run as normal from the beginning. Another busy day was had by the BGRS club members with reverse running of steam and also steam preperation up in the dockyard area by BGRS members. Going forward this again is going to be a new feature, thus spreading the operations of steam around the layout instead of keeping it in the main central area. We had no electrical running issues on Sunday and all ran to plan, Breakdown was at 17-00 and we managed to to get packed and away in 3 hours which is a great achievement by the BGRS members attending the show.

Brighton Model World 14th & 15th  February 2009

Yet another variation of Whiteleaf was needed to suit the space available at this show. 56ft x 18ft meant the electric loco sidings and the viaduct could be accommodated but the Dock yard and Penn Street could not. This caused the lenght on each side to be unequal so a new board, no2A has been fabricated to fit the gap. This also has the effect of making the stock storage siding longer, which was very useful. The Dock yard control board was still needed to operate the colour light signal controlling the viaduct single-track section and to protect shunting moves in and out of the loco sidings. As this duty was not too onerous it was found possible for the Dockyard operator to also control a train on the running lines. Staff shortages at times made this facility particularly useful.

A good variety of track-powered stock was available, while there was plenty of activity on the steam front. Noteworthy was a member’s ‘Vale of Rheidol’ ‘Llewelyn’ 2-6-2 with Ffestiniog coaches, all equipped with Accucraft chopper couplings, and another member’s impressive Garrett NG16 built by John Cambell.

An experimental voluntary roster system was tried out. The object was to obviate any gaps in our service and to ensure a continous display for our public. It was also designed to insure that operators could take meal breaks and PNR’s at reasonable times. Without a roster clerk to ensure any gaps in the roster were filled, the roster did no more than to spark some discussion about how to deal with uneven availability of drivers and controllers (not forgetting Dockyard panel operators). With several control board operators, that position seems reasonably well covered and one our new members showed promise, when he had a spell on the control panel. Two other members covered the dockyard panel between then. There were plenty of members to drive electric locos.

Access to this venue for the build up and break down is not easy as the parking is far away and everything has to be moved a considerable distance from the unloading area to the stand, using lifts.

Given the logistical problems, break down in 3 hours (after a 5.30 finish) was a brilliant performance by the crew, ably organised by our exhibitions manager. Thanks to all other BGRS members who attended.

Southend Festival of Model

 Railways Show 2010


On the weekend of November 20th / 21st . BGRS attended a model railway show in Southend. We took the 56ft x 18ft layout to the show, which took about 5 hours to set up and was well received by the public and organisers alike on the operating days. The show was busy on both days with live steam and digital trains running on both days. We managed to breakdown in around 2.5 hours, which was thanks to the members who turned up on the Sunday enabling the people who had stayed over some additional support on the breakdown day.

On the Saturday, four members were running live steam, with one members steam tram having it’s first run on the layout. Another members scratched built electric freight tram also made its debut on Saturday. Another member brought his Double Fairlie and some Ffestiniogg stock, which ran on the layout. Other members were running other electric stock and managing the control panel. The group were also introduced to the Mayor of Southend by the exhibition organisers, on Saturday.

On Sunday, five members were running lives team through out the day, which included a Roundhouse ‘Billy’ and ‘Silver Lady’. Another member created a novelty wagon train where there was no loco on the front, just a set of wagons under there own propulsion, which gave the public something different to look at. Other members were running electric stock and managing the control panel.

Everybody seems to have had a good time at the show and BGRS is now on youtube following that show under the title of Shoeburyness Festival of Model Railways 2010 & Southend model railway show. Where both live steam and electric are on display.