Celebrating the Unusual at the Beds n Bucks Open Day

The Beds and Bucks Narrow Gauge Modellers Open Day was on the 14th May this year.

I have to admit I had very mixed feelings as I drove there. It was the first Open Day since the death of Mark Howe who was the backbone of the Beds and Bucks group and organised our Open Day for many years. It was going to be strange to have the event without him. Just before the show opened we held a minutes silence for Mark. This moment of reflection and respect made me feel better. I knew Mark would have wanted everyone to enjoy the day….

… and everyone did.

It was a great team effort from everyone in the group (and in many cases their families too), and the day went very well indeed.

There were many super layouts and I could include photos of each of them. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on three layouts, each one unusual in some way.

Green Pond Mine by Lyn and Jim Owers is a micro layout 60 x 40 cm (24 x 16 inches), that combines HO9 and HOf, and is completely automated. The electrics were displayed behind the layout.

The 9mm HO9 track sits alongside the 6.5mm HOf to create a 2 foot 6 inch gauge line and two 15 inch spurs. All of the trains start, move and stop automatically in sequence. The operators sit by the layout and talk to the visitors – nice!

It’s a really unusual concept built to a high standard, creating a very attractive layout.

Morton Stanley by Chris Ford and Nigel Hill is a very well modelled, compact O-16.5 layout.

While many modellers try to pack in lots of interesting vignettes or scenes throughout their layouts Chris and Nigel have taken a different approach. Morton Stanley is almost ‘minimalist’. There isn’t a lot happening and this really evokes a sleepy narrow gauge line, where trains are infrequent, and profits are a long way away.

I really liked this approach and I enjoyed chatting with Chris and Mike.

From ‘minimalist’ to ‘maximalist’ (if such a word exists). This is the Grasslands and Wetlands Railway by Glyn Bennett, an indoor narrow gauge line in G scale. Now, you don’t see that very often!

The layout is very well modelled…

…and there are some lovely scenes.

Glyn very kindly offered to let me operate – I jumped at the chance! The locos and stock are very well built and run very smoothly at low speed.  The wire in tube point operation was very positive, and the electrics really simple to understand (which is always good in my book!). I had a great time and I could have done it for hours. Many thanks to you Glyn, it was a real pleasure to operate your layout!

The next Beds and Buck Open Day is on Sunday 13th May 2018.  We are already planning it…

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