I have fancied a small Great Western Pannier Tank locomotive for quite some time, and I had noticed that one of the model railway suppliers that I use regularly for mail order, Kernow Model Rail Centre, was attending a model railway exhibition in Alton this weekend. I therefore phoned them up to ask if they could bring one to the exhibition and keep it aside for me.
When I arrived, there were lots of eager people looking around the models and at all the various layouts that were being exhibited. I decided to go to the Kernow stand first before looking around the rest of the exhibits to allow for this early rush to subside. I met and chatted with the Kernow staff before purchasing my prized loco. They handed it to me with the outer box still wrapped in its shipping tissue paper. I then was able to look around the rest of the stands and exhibits without my money burning a hole in my pocket.
As usual for a model railway exhibition the layouts were all built to a very high standard. There was an unusual layout depicting a battle scene from the First World War with armoured war trains that would occasionally trundle through carrying supplies. This was really brought to life with added sounds and lighting, such as gunfire, whistles, and bi-planes.
On a large, G scale, live steam layout there was the opportunity for members of the public to drive the steam engines with a small remote control. I was handed the control and then instructed on how to drive. Giving a quick toot of the whistle I was able to control the locomotive from one side of the layout to the other. I really like the smell of live steam.
To one side there were regular talks taking place and I went to one about building a model railway in a small space. The presenter had his own layout in his bedroom on a narrow shelf.
There were some interesting traders, one of them specialises in micro LED lights and fitting them into scale models, for instance a London ambulance with a full set of flashing lights which can be placed on a layout.
Admission was £4.50 with good access, but parking was a bit busy.