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The L&B at Southport and Rainford

The North West Area Group have been busy recently, attending two separate events within a period of four days.

On Wednesday 15 April 2015, Bob Barnard gave his talk “The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway – Then and Now” to 25-30 members of the Southport Model Engineering Club. The meeting was chaired by SMEC’s John Rothwell (himself an L&B member), and took place in the SMEC clubhouse on the outskirts of Southport, where the extensive miniature railway shares landscaped grounds with the local model boat society, who use the lake for their activities. 

The audience, although mostly builders of live steam main line locomotive models (narrow gauge locos are of course rather big and heavy when built for the common gauges of 3½ or 5 inches) were very interested in our efforts to rebuild an increasing amount of the L&B route. After the talk, and some discussion, the organisers kindly made a donation to L&B Trust funds.

Only a few days later, on Saturday 18 April, members of the NW group attended the 009 Society exhibition and AGM in the village of Rainford, near St Helens, Merseyside.  Peter Ainley and Bob Barnard had in fact spent a couple of hours on the previous evening setting up Bob’s 009 model of Barnstaple Town in the church hall, whilst Bob and Dave Prime were there bright and early on the Saturday to set up a table of L&B merchandise, and make the final adjustments to the model layout before the show’s doors opened at 10.00.

Phew! The layout is set up and working, ready for the start of the show

Peter joined later, and the three of us were busy all day explaining the signalling and operation of this interesting part of the L&B route to visitors to the show – most of whom were NG enthusiasts, and included several L&B members.


Dave (left) and Peter (right) are now experienced operators of this layout. The L&B sales table is in the foreground

Sales were lively, with all our copies of the excellent new book “L&B Journey” selling out quickly. A busy train service operated on the layout throughout the day, with trains made up of Bob’s and Dave’s models, some in L&B livery and others in SR livery.

In the relaxed atmosphere of this small event, we managed to operate the layout in a way much more typical of the actual L&B than we had managed amid the frenzy of Warley in Nov 2012. We even managed to get the headlamp on the right end of the loco for most trains!

Lyn is checked at Pilton Down Home signal until the crossing keeper has closed the gates

With the gates closed to road traffic, Lyn gets the signal to proceed towards Lynton


With a model we can dream. Here Axe approaches Braunton Road level crossing with two restored coaches and Van 23 (Photo: Peter Ainley)

At the end of the day we agreed that we had found it a very enjoyable (though tiring) experience, meeting some interesting people, and being well looked after by the show’s organisers throughout the day.

The next L&B event in the NW area will be a return visit with our L&B display / sales stand and a static model display, to the Apedale Valley Light Railway Gala, Apedale Valley Country Park, Chesterton, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffs ST5 7LB, from 10.00 – 1700 on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 May 2015.

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