Here’s a third post about model railway exhibitions – and this one is a little bit of history. It was taken at a Beckenham and West Wickham MRC show back in the early 1970’s.
The are a number of things that catch the eye in this wonderful shot…
I made the signal box. It had embossed card brickwork over a perspex shell. I’m not sure my modelling skills have improved that much since my teens….
The layout was the BWW club ‘O’ gauge layout. It was an interesting mixture of standards, as they were somewhere between fine and coarse scale. Fine scale would run OK, but it would also accommodate some older models – bit like PECO ‘N’ gauge track, really. All track was hand-built spiked flat-bottom rail, and points were operated by point rodding and lever frames (hidden under that signal box). Half the layout lived in the clubroom for weekly operation, but the whole thing came out for shows, and it was a wonderful spectacle. Collection was from the authentic Southern Region outside third rail, even the steam locomotives.
The stock used on the layout was mostly scratch-built, the highlights being Frank Keeler’s (second from left) wonderful Southern steam locomotives and Doug Glibbery’s (foreground) Southern EMU’s. But also note the then new Triang Hymeks in the sidings – but fitted with a new heavy-duty chassis. A highlight of every show was the 100 wagon goods train. Two of these Hymeks would happily pull this train of heavy, not very free running, wagons.
And this is a classic 70’s show. It’s set up in a dilapidated hall. People actually wore jackets and ties to operate. And the no-smoking rule didn’t apply to the hall, let alone the operators.
Finally, the gentleman in the background, without a tie, is my father…