My usual companions couldn’t make this year’s trip to Alexandra Palace for the London Festival of Railway Modelling, so I was undecided whether to go. But Derek said that if two of us were going, it was worth him driving, so I agreed to go. I could doze in a car rather than battle London’s railway system. It was an easy drive up there, despite the sat-nav (me) going to sleep and missing a turning, so we circumnavigated Alexandra Park before getting to the show. Car parking was very well organised, but no-one told us the you needed a team of Sherpa’s to get from the Paddock car park to the Palace. At least two aging gentlemen got their cardiovascular exercise for at least the coming week! A good range of layouts was on display, from ‘Z’ to Gauge 3. Not a lot that stood out, though. Copenhagen Fields is always worth a view, but little progress seems to have been made recently on the ‘bare’ bits. I did enjoy ‘Star Lane’. This is just a layout to watch the trains go by, with a looped-8 layout. It can be viewed from four sides and the storage sidings lie inside of the visible layout. Best of all, it is Southern Electric, and based on the Star Lane overpass just up the road from us in Hooley. I have seen a similar concept for a single track USA layout, and it always seems to work. There was a nice group of 3mm scale layouts, and one of overseas layouts, included a couple of American ones. Sometimes it’s so hard to find the layouts amongst all the trade stands. The trade were there in force. Nothing new on the Bachmann and Dapol stands, but some of the forthcoming Bachmann Farish items, like the Merchant Navy 4-6-2, the SR bogie utility van, and the Southern N class 2-6-0 all look excellent. The N class and a re-run of the Jinty are booked for a boat from China in June/July, so we’ll look forward to them. There were the usual interesting selection of specialist traders, with ‘bits and pieces’. I came away with a book and some trees for Earl’s Wood. Derek spent rather more…. Overall, a good day out, but as ever with this show, it all seemed not quite as good as I expected. Perhaps I have seen too many of these layouts before, either in concept or in the flesh? It’s good to have a few layouts that are ‘different’ in some way.
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