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NWAG at the 009 Society Narrow Gauge Model Railway Show, Rainford, 1 April 2017

The North West group of the Lynton & Barnstaple were invited back to this biennial show, which is organised to coincide with the 009 Society’s AGM when it visits the north. We had attended once previously, in 2015. The AGM draws narrow gauge enthusiasts from all over the country, in addition to the local visitors, making for a busy day, but with a lot of interest in the L&B.

Because of the nature of the event, we were asked to provide a working model railway layout in addition to our usual L&B Trust display and sales stand.  In 2015, our model was of Barnstaple Town station, but this time we took Bob Barnard’s new diorama-style layout showing half of Chelfham viaduct and half of the adjacent station.

Bob and fellow L&B member Ron Dumbell set up the whole stand on the Friday evening in one of two halls in the village which housed the exhibition, whilst on Saturday Bob, Ron, Peter Ainley and David Prime manned the stand and layout.

(L to R) The display stand, sales table, model and L&B leaflets.  Peter Ainley and Bob Barnard on duty (photo: Dave)

Peter Ainley and Bob Barnard stick their heads over the parapet... (photo: Dave)

It is something of a novelty to have an eye-catching model layout integrated into a Society stand, and this resulted in a number of favourable comments from show visitors.

Before the show opened, Andrew Burnham of Peco kindly offered us the use (just for the day!) of the two Heljan L&B Manning Wardle locos that were reviewed in the Railway Modeller magazine recently.  We felt greatly honoured, as there are only four of these locos in the country at present!  During the morning, the layout was set in pre-WW1 independent days, with an intensive service of trains hauled by Bob’s and David’s locos, as well as the beautiful Heljan ones, which ran superbly throughout .

Heljan L&B era "Yeo" pauses at Chelfham whilst running light engine back to Pilton. (Photo: Peter)

At lunchtime, the buildings and structures on the layout were replaced with models reflecting the state of the station around 1930, and a similar intensive service of SR-liveried trains operated all afternoon.

Bob's Exe with an Up train during the SR period (photo: Dave)

Because of the presence of the long-awaited Heljan models, the layout was crowded with onlookers all day, and camera shutters were clicking busily!

The Heljan "Taw" poses at the station (photo: Peter)

Sales of L&B merchandise were steady throughout the day.  We also had on sale the range of L&B resin kits produced by Bristol L&B member Paul Levy, with visitors buying quite a number of those.

Lyn crosses the viaduct with a down train (photo: Peter)

Overall, we felt we had a rather hectic but very enjoyable day, met a lot of friends and managed to hand out some L&B Membership forms. My thanks to Ron, Peter and David for all their help.

Bob Barnard

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