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Sunday 13 March 2022

BNHRMS Exhibition

After a two year hiatus, due to the pandemic, and with some excitement we visited the Basingstoke show once again. I was struck by how familiar everything was. Warring nations and pandemics lost from our minds with only the occasional face mask wearer reminding us of reality. 

This time we went in the afternoon to avoid excessive early morning crowds and lack of car parking. Afternoons are a much more civilised time to visit. 

The usual mix of high quality layouts and the same traders were on show. It seemed to me that there was, however, a subtle shift in layout presentations in so far as the intricate animations of cameo scenes that were becoming popular at the last few shows we visited - things like moving people and smoke effects were absent (unless I missed them). It was a return to traditional railway modelling. I did not even hear many sound effects.

Three of the 20 odd layouts appealed most to me were:

Brankstone (00 gauge) was inspirational because it made optimal use of only about 2 metres length. It is a two level scheme where the foreground contained a locomotive depot and the upper level a separate end to end run. The loco depot is accessed from a gap in the retaining wall of the upper level and beneath this level was the fiddle yard. The upper level is a single track with storage sidings at each end hidden by the buildings. The operational interest is mainly  limited to the movement of locomotives in the yard whereas the upper level provides an unexpected appearance of a train appearing between the buildings on its run from nowhere to nowhere.

I seemed to think I had seen Bodmin (N gauge) somewhere before. Indeed it featured in another of my show reviews for Andover 2018. I'll repeat what I said then:

"Bodmin (N gaugestruck a chord with me as I visited the prototype. I remembered walking along the platform, chatting to the signalman at his box about the T9 languishing in the shed a little further down the yard. Now with a helicopter viewpoint I see the entire station complex with all the recognisable structures but in miniature."

My best in show goes to Dillmouth (0 gauge). It captured perfectly the atmosphere of a country station aided by the best layout lighting I have ever seen. Halogen or LED?  miniature flood lights bathed the scene with the most natural bright summer sunlight.

Of the three items I wanted to purchase only one was found (solder). But, I did come away with a prize from the tombola (Metcalf stone sheets).

Also, said hi to Steve Flint, who was peddling his Peco publications. He remembered our layout that he voted best in show in 2014 and latter published in his magazine.

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