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Beckenham Vintage Show 5th April 2014
fifth annual Beckenham Vintage show rang the changes once again with
nine layouts all different and seven well known traders. Plus the
B&WWMRC Club Shop and much praised good quality catering.
Setting up and the
Saturday night clear up was made a lot less painful with many helping
hands to move the chairs and tables around in the halls. Brian
arranged for additional tables from the Honey Club to be delivered to
and collected from the Church. James Dallaway provided and delivered
eight excellent folding tables from his residents association which
gave the Club Shop its best ever display capability. The Club Shop
stock and club tables were brought up in several car loads by Greg,
Tony P and Tony R which saves us a lot of money by avoiding the need
to rent a van. Brian and Robin Vince were again the mainstays of the
shop with assistance from Derek, Ken and others. Owing to a
miscalculation on my part we were short of tables this year hence the
need to borrow those provided by James, but they are so good I think
I might be cheeky and ask for them next year.
The queue at the
door had started at 09:30 and after opening at 10:00 took a quarter
of an hour to clear and as usual of the first ten through the door
nine headed straight for the shop!! It was noticeable that people
were arriving in small groups every quarter of an hour or so, which
was a bit puzzling until I remembered that trains are about every
15mins on the Hayes line, so a lot of our ‘customers’
come by train. Attendance was almost exactly the same as last year
and in the morning I don’t think we could have coped with more.
Strict budgeting on layout expenses and minimising the layout
insurance valuations ensured we made the most income from the day.
The traders all reported good sales and want to come next year. Plus
I have another different set of 8 layouts already provisionally
booked for Beckenham Vintage 2015.
The main feature
layout this year was Adrian Capon and Mark Carne’s magnificent
Bassett Lowke 0 Gauge layout. Much of the stock was naturally from
the between the wars era when BL was the predominant quality model
railway range. BL did not manufacture everything they sold and
sourced models form Bing, Carette and Winteringham amongst others.
With Mark’s usual attention to detail and careful preparation
they ran as well as they looked. There was some real treasures
running, the LSWR M7 with Pink and Salmon coaches particularly caught
my eye, as did the Bing ‘Cauliflower’ LNWR 0-6-0. Also
running were some more modern Bassett Lowke / Corgi locos. The locos
arrayed around the turntable were a moth watering display. Although a
loose lay layout Mark and Adrian used appropriate buildings,
turntables, stations, bridges and signals to build a really effective
As a complete
contrast and in juxtaposition with the BL was Steve Smith’s
Triang ‘Big Big Train’ battery powered loose lay layout.
The brightly coloured stock and red plastic track with huge play
value was really attractive to the kids, who were its intended market
when produced in the 1960’s. To those who think plastic isn’t
‘vintage’ think again, as most of this layout predated
some of the other accepted ‘vintage’ layouts….. I
saw this layout at a TCS event in the Midlands, but ‘Big Big’
as far as I’m aware has never been displayed in the south
before. Many ‘scale’ modellers in the past have adapted
and converted ‘Big Big’ stock as it was reasonably priced
and apart from the colours the mouldings were pretty good. I have
repainted ‘Big Big’ mineral wagons in grey and bauxite to
run behind my ETS WD 2-8-0 as a ‘wind cutter’ coal train.
Returning for the
fifth year but with yet another different layout the Chiltern Hills
Group of the HRCA brought ‘Bowlers Croft’ a Hornby Dublo
two rail self-standing layout, this time running exclusively Wrenn
rolling stock. When Hornby went bankrupt in 1964 the range was taken
over by their main rivals Triang, then sold on to G and R Wrenn, who
continues to manufacture the later Hornby Dublo 2 rail plastic
rolling stock and die cast locos. Wrenn also produced some unique
locos of their own design, including a Parallel Boiler Royal Scot,
Spam Can unrebuilt Bullied Pacific and a Brighton Belle electric unit
of their own. There was a lot of comment along the lines of ‘I’ve
never seen so much Wrenn before’, or ‘I didn’t know
they did all that’ and ‘you’re running Wrenn!’
(Wrenn has high collector value and typically sits in display
cabinets…). Lead as usual by Derek Smith. Ron McCaskie and John
Booker this layout was as attractive and entertaining as ever and as
usual featured some of Derek’s neverwazza creations in the
Moving to the
‘wooden’ hall Roger White (aka ‘The Bishop of
Bedford’ or ‘Your Reverence’). Put together a loose
lay Marklin HO stud contact layout on the snooker table with two
ovals with trains running all the time. An operating electric
turntable and engine shed with opening and closing doors as the locos
moved in and out in the centre of the layout made this a really
attractive and entreating display. Terry Penn assisted Roger in
getting some of the early bugs out and kept the kids (some older than
others) amused turning locos on the turntable.
Martin Wood with
assistance from Dave Tibbert brought his 6 x 4 self-standing Dublo 3
rail layout which packs a lot into a small space and is always very
effective reliable and entertaining. This layout is frequently seen
at the Orpington Toy Fairs and is consequently very well known.
Martin also ran some non-Hornby items, including a brass (possibly
kit built) LMS 4F to compliment the normal Dublo stock.
Neil Smith and Les
Martin bravely put together an impressive multi-level 1950’s
era Triang Trans Continental layout with grey Standard Track
including elevated Standard Track sections. This is an incredibly
brave effort as Standard Track is notorious for warping and shrinking
due to the majority being made from cellulose acetate. Some was
produced in polystyrene and this was the track used. It must have
taken years to track down enough track for this impressive layout.
One circuit included and overlaid figure of eight including an
elevated diamond crossing and Triang rubber embankments there was a
full range of accessories and little sign of the voltage drop
problems that are also common with the use of this track. The rolling
stock was from Triang’s Trans Continental range which I find
very attractive, but does not necessarily accurately model the
intended prototypes. Triang produced these in some cases from
photographs for the Commonwealth countries and some were manufactured
in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Although considered
cruder by some than the Hornby Dublo range, Triang was lower cost,
ran reliably on more realistic two rail track and had greater play
value. Triang took the market and effectively bankrupted Hornby in
Tewkesbury with his son Mark brought a fascinating compact Trix Twin
layout which I had assumed was a pre laid layout ready assembled. But
no it was a loose lay to a complex plan on a baseboard including
electric point operation and many accessories. Predominantly Southern
focused this was Peters ‘Train Set’ from his childhood
greatly expanded and enhanced with many ‘neverwazza’
creations and repaints. It just shows how much you can do with Trix
and still make it run reliably.
the first time we had a Lionel American 0 Gauge layout with all the
working accessories and fun value for which Lionel is renowned. Adam
Heeley put this all together on his own in the 3 hours before the
show opened, a remarkable feat. The three main ovals featured the big
locos and three unit diesels haling the freights and express
passenger trains, plus there were two shuttles and a mini oval
working in the centre. The steam locos and even one of the diesels
included smoke units, with the distinctive American whooar whoooar
sounds all triggered without DCC……….
White presented something very different from the Triang range with
Minic Motorway cars and level crossings and Triangs Battlepsace
trains. Dave even surprised himself when the ‘Exploding’
Car did just that when he picked it up (twice….). Battlespace
is a fascinating range with rockets that fly from launchers, flying
helicopters, searchlight cars and so on. But because they were made
to be played with there are comparatively few survivors in good
were represented by Cliff Maddock, GB Models, Brian Baker, Elaine’s
Trains, WM Collectibles, Joe Lock and Mike Delany.
TCS stand was manned by Rod Hannah.
and Monica Embling manned the HRCA stand.
societies reported lots of interest and David took some subscription
Club shop did good business all day with good sales of vintage items.
We left the junk boxes and books behind this time and spreading out
the rolling stock rather than stacking it made life easier for
everyone and enabled the prospective customers to see the goods!
catering was as good as usual and the ‘café’ area
was packed for most of the day. The bread pudding ‘slabs’
and bacon butties were there usual hit. At least one club committee
member was seen regularly checking the food quality……