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I am just getting over a hefty cold and one of my first journeys out was to the Solihull MRC to view their 2018 exhibition.


 It was spread over two halls and covered gauges from G to N, although I suspect that the clubs main interest is in OO. The overall standard of modelling was high with pride of place taken by the clubs own “Cherwell”, which was 26’6” by 10”6” and has a central operating well while viewers can encircle the layout and never miss a thing. It comprises a 4 track main line with buildings and ephemera taken from the south eastern corner of the Birmingham area and incorporates a branch line for added interest, to reduce it to its essentials, it is a huge round-and-round with no fiddle-yard, stock being held in sidings around the layout  until required for movement. It features fully working automatic signals (respect kids, way to go and that sort of thing) and is obviously constructed with the exhibition circuit in mind.

However, I digress, this is after all an “N” gauge website. Our particular side of the hobby was represented by two models Avonwick GWR and Todmorden Midland. Both models being good examples of our craft.

Avonwick GWR (I shall quote owners description in both cases)  “It’s the summer of 1933 and the local factory works are on their annual holiday, allowing them to escape out of the smoky cities such as Birmingham and travel down to the sleepy resort of Avonwick. Having alighted from the quaint little terminus station of Avonwick the local  bus is waiting in the station car park. This will ferry them down to holiday camps such as Billy Butlin’s at Seaton and beyond.

Most of the time, the stationmaster at Avonwick has to deal with coal and light goods for the local residents, along with the never-ending ingredients for Scats Brewery. This is always needed as the local beer is always on tap at the “Green Man” pub. It’s even quieter at Tinkers Green Halt, with only the occasional cattle train going to market or the holiday maker that wishes to explorer the sleepy fields of Devon. Of course, some travellers may get lost and find themselves in the “Green Man” for a pint or two before the bus ride to the holiday camp”.


Todmorden Midland  A smallish layout in a case and behind glass, which was one of the best I have seen for a long time. What makes it so excellent is the weathering used which realistically conveys the impression of the passing of grime over the scene, which is then washed by rain to something

cleaner. The result is that muck and dribbles still remain but in a much lighter format. If one adds to that the overall construction of all buildings and infrastructure is to a very high standard……….I was most impressed, so impressed that I scarcely noticed that it had working trains as well, which seemed to work reliably and looked good too.

I quote: “Todmorden Midland is a terminus modelled in N gauge standards. The scenic section includes a station, goods shed, coal yard, loco shed, canal scene, a couple of West Yorkshire mill buildings, a pub and of course distant views of hills.

It is assumed that the Midland Railway decided to try to tap the lucrative traffic around the North of Manchester and towns like Rochdale and Oldham. To avoid competition with the L&Y or the LNWR the MR planned to take a single line from the terminus of the Worth Valley line at Oxenhope across the moorland at Hebden Bridge to access the Calder Valley (L&Y territory) to Todmorden and then develop a line across to the North side of Manchester. The success of the recently built Settle & Carlisle line meant that meant that plenty of stations and other building designs could be adapted quickly (We had a  previous lay out!). However, when they reached Todmorden the money and drive ran out and the lengthy line from Keighley was left to struggle on into the 1950s and 1960s. This is when Todmorden is modelled.

(There follows a description of track and locos, which I shall omit)

Scenery uses a range of manufacturer’s products including the excellent (and rare) Graham Avis trees. Buildings are mainly scratch built with a couple of  modified kits. The excellent Peco N gauge stone plastic building sheets have proved to be very effective, however, the church is made from OO Wills sheet! Some of the building are scratch built Settle & Carlisle designs which are justified by the lines presumed historic origins. Mill buildings and the pub are scratch built and based on the types of building found in the area. The back scene is done with acrylics”.


I shall make no bones about it at all, this model is a masterpiece and should an opportunity to see it arise I would recommend that you make the effort to see how N gauge models should be.  MPT 

(Ken I’m getting very worried, this is another small model I admire, well it’s probably large in your scheme of things)

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APOLOGY: the quality of the photos taken of this lay-out as they do not do it justice. I am afraid that my idiot proof, do everything, highly expensive camera is not well. 

Solihull Exhibition & Todmorden