An annual pilgrimage for me is the 30 miles or so to Four Marks for the Alton Ltd show, as it’s all American. It’s also a pleasant drive through the countryside along the A31 Hogs Back and the Winchester road. A bit busy today, though, as it is the first day of the school holidays for many here. I like this show, too, as it’s a ‘real’ model railway show – a very friendly small show in a classic English village hall. But plenty of interest none the less…..
A few layouts, but all were interesting. This included…
- Lovely ‘N’ gauge American Civil War era layout. The owners are also expert in the history of that era, and talking to them was as interesting as the layout itself.
- A small ‘O’ gauge Rock Island switching layout.
- A good size HOn3 layout. HOn3 is rare in the UK and this was good to see.
- A narrow gauge line set on an imaginary Caribbean island. The map of the island looked suspiciously like the Isle of Wight, and the Spanish place names could be translated back to well known UK holiday spots!
Good trade stands…..
- Most interesting was a stand full of brass models. The classic Korean or Japanese made brass loco takes a lot of beating. Perhaps the latest commercial models have better detail, but the brass importers did (and do) make models of less well known and prototype specific locos – and bare brass does look good. Fortunately, there were very few ‘N’ gauge items to tempt me.
- Plenty of second hand items, including ‘N’ gauge.
- Lots of very interesting second hand books, including items from the smaller publishers not seen so often in the UK.
And even better, after my expensive week buying Swiss trams I didn’t buy anything. Well, that’s not strictly true, as Alton Ltd provides some of the best bacon baps on the exhibition circuit. A bacon and egg bap and a cup of coffee were my sole purchases.
Next year (I say this every year), I must go on to the Watercress preserved line at Alton. Today, as always, household jobs were waiting for the afternoon.