April 4th, 2018

The London Festival of Railway Modelling 2018

Another productive weekend of publicity for the Trust. Following on from the huge success of January’s London Model Engineering Exhibition, we had another engagement at the Palace – although not a Royal one.

As expected, Saturday was busy. Our position on stand 54 in The Great Hall was pretty central, which allowed the majority of patrons to flow towards us and stop by with intrigue and curiosity. We were in good company, too; there was The Deltic Preservation Society to our left and The Battle of Britain Locomotive Society, the custodians of locomotive 34081 92 Squadron, in front of us. This gave us the opportunity to update them on the progress of GER 789, while learning more about what the forthcoming year has in store for their respective engines.

We had plenty of merchandise on offer. As well as the usual official Holden F5 merchandise, fellow trustee Bob Ayton had generously donated many of his old railway books. I had already bought one of Bob’s books at the Norfolk Railway Show a couple of weeks before, and as Andy and I were setting up on Friday evening I found a few more that I was interested in! I kept them to one side and made a catalogue of all the other books that were on sale. There must have been at least 26 – about half of which had been sold by the end of the weekend.

All set up: Ready for business at the Palace. Photo by Andy Butler.

As well as positive interest in the merchandise, I’m pleased to say there was avid interest shown in the project. At the time of writing we are still awaiting confirmation of the agreement of the lease that is being negotiated, to allow relocation to the Whitwell & Reepham Railway. It has been a long, drawn-out process, but recent updates since the Festival have been encouraging; we hope to have the news that everyone has been hoping to hear before the Trust’s next event on 14th April.

The buzzwire has proved to be very popular at these events. Kids of all ages (including the big ones!) come over and spend a fair amount of time trying to get the hook from one end to the other without touching the wire. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the pattern of the wire is shaped to the outline of an F5 locomotive. Participants get to have 5 goes for £1.50 and may take as long as they need. It’s been a great way to raise funds for the project and is also quite amusing to watch people test their skill and the steadiness of their hands. Huge credit must go to Andy Butler for designing and creating this popular attraction.

Also making its first public appearance were the new Get It Rolling campaign leaflets. As the relocation to Whitwell and assembly of the  frames are expected to take place soon, the Trust has been thinking ahead to the next big phase of the project: the wheels, axles and radial trucks. Owen Hayward came up with the leaflets’ design, and I think I speak for everyone by saying what a fantastic job he’s done. Thank you, Owen. We hope you can continue your good work for us for years to come.

We have become a regular attendee at Warners Shows’ events since 2016. As someone who plays a big part in organising the Trust’s presence at these shows, I am in regular communication with the show’s organisers. The Trust took up the opportunity to advertise in the April 2018 edition of British Railway Modelling Magazine. At the show I was given an advance copy for free and was delighted to find our advert, taking up the whole of page 82. This advert was the result of a collaboration between Pat Price, Production Controller for the Warners Group, and myself. Thank you, Pat, for all your help; I would also like to extend my gratitude to everybody at Warners for your co-operation in making it easy to book the Trust’s place at your events. The latest edition of British Railway Modelling Magazine out now and is available to buy digitally: https://pocketmags.com/british-railway-modelling-magazine/april-2018

Thank you all for your continued support. The Trust will be appearing at The Cambridge Model Railway Club Exhibition at Sawston Village College, Saturday 14th April. This is followed up with the North Norfolk Railway’s Spring Steam Gala, Sheringham Station, Saturday 21st – Sunday 2nd April. I hope to see several new and familiar faces at both events.

Greg Kiteos.


Hot of the Press: Ken, Andy, Ruth Jamieson of BRM Magazine, and me, with our advert. Photo by Owen Hayward.