This is an image-heavy post, it may take some time to load them all fully, so be patient, it’s like trains and buses, you hang around for a while and suddenly the whole lot arrives at once. The images will open into full-size pictures with a click on them, and then the browser back button will return you to the post.
The 2017 event took place on one of the hottest weekends for a long time, and the lecture rooms were refreshingly cool, even with the bright lighting on some of the layouts (see the Bottle Kiln Lane photos below).
In the entrance lobby, Three Bridges by the Sea gave the Mere team something to concentrate on, but the trains ran, and almost to time.
Moving into the main room and going clockwise, the Swiss railway BeckenVick had a snowy scene that I would hover over when I needed to cool down after trips to the car park with bags of litter, although I did get a bout of camera shake from the frost. (Actually, it was the overhead electrification lines which bamboozled my camera’s auto-focus, I realised long after the show was over).
Along the lower edge of the stage was the Somerset and Dorset depiction of Cheddar.
with an on yer bike scene in the goods yard
And around past the steps which lead to the stage lead me to Bottle Kiln Lane, where some very clever lighting was used to give the effect of those long-drawn-out evenings when the sun never seems to set.
And then to a German layout whose name I shan’t attempt to type here (Hintendorf? Nintendorf? ) because I have no idea what the first letter of it is in English. The car is most noteworthy, and one suspects the two people sitting on the platform have been glad to get out of it and sit in the peace and quiet for a while.
And then past the books and big-models to Red Hook Bay that almost had more water than land, but featured the most amazing collection of gaudy frontage (no, not just the Burlesque club), and also featured a mermaid, and a working water crane for the locomotives
Switching now to the inner group of layouts, Stamford East amazed me because with no way to see through the side of the train shed the operators got the engine up to the buffers every time, and nothing came out splintered.
Then to the boat-building demonstration, where the question on the book seems almost a rhetorical one.
The Pavilions tram layout had me staring at it and saying “I know this place, but…”, because I had lived in the particular town for a while, but when they explained the locations to me, it all made sense.
I even remembered the building in the photograph used on one of the sneak-off routes.
And down the final layout Devil’s Bridge in the main hall central section, a must-see for how to get the hedgerows and treelines working with the layout.
But there’s more!
So on to the small hall, where our developing O-gauge layout Mere Abbas had two engines in steam for the first time that I recall
Against the party wall was Crackington, with a whisky-galore tribute on the quayside. It might have been one of the smallest layouts but it was packed with detail.
And down towards the doorway, the exhibition was completed by Welton, one of the few layouts that didn’t stutter or misbehave when I trained the camera on it and pressed the video button.
My apologies if you’re viewing this site before I’ve got all the layout names posted, but as well as losing my badge sometime during the afternoon, I lost my guide to the exhibitors.
My personal thanks to all of the exhibitors and operators who put up with my questions and tirelessly explained the whys and why-nots of how their layouts came to be.