Everything in the garden’s lovely!

Imagine the sun shining, birds singing, the sweet smell of newly mown grass… and the clickety-clack of an approaching train on a scenic outdoor layout! Garden railways bring a new dimension to our already richly varied hobby, bridging the gap between small-scale indoor modelling and proper narrow-gauge railways. Pete Kelly gathers his thoughts after visiting this year’s National Garden Railway Show at Peterborough.

To an absolute outsider on the subject of garden railways, my first thoughts as I drove to this year’s brilliant National Garden Railway Show presented by the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers at the Peterborough Arena on Saturday, April 7 were: “Garden railways? Bit of a minority interest, surely?”

Once I arrived at the site, however, the crowded car park and long queues waiting to get inside taught me otherwise as thousands of people turned up from all corners of the country, eager to spend their hard-earned on track, model kits, engineering tools, radio-control equipment, spare parts, rolling roads, locomotives, rolling stock, books, whistles, painting and lining services, lifelike miniatures, accessories, resin lineside buildings and so much more.

These operators look happy in their work — but what’s not to smile about?

In the main hall, the buzz was infectious as the bustling crowds squeezed in as close to the layouts and trade stands as possible.

Battered and bruised, yet still game for more, one star of the show was undoubtedly the Roundhouse O-gauge live steam tank engine Silver Lady, whose progress along a temporary 71-mile track from Fort William to Inverness was watched by millions of TV viewers in The Biggest Little Railway in the World.

The beauty of steam is that, whether it’s a giant main line locomotive or a 16mm or G-scale model, the whiff as it clatters by is exactly the same – a fact that became apparent to me at a very early age during caravan holidays at Rhyl when a regular treat was a ride on the Marine Lake Railway with its wonderful little 15in-gauge locomotives.

For the full article, see the June edition of Modelling – available now!

For a complete list of stockists and how to get your copy, visit: www.railwaymagazinemodelling.co.uk/distributors