The ‘exhibitionalist’

As the model railway exhibition season revs up again as the nights pull in, we look at what makes a good show and how to get the most out of exhibitions, both as a visitor and a layout operator. Model railway layouts have changed dramatically over the years that I have been attending model railway shows both as a visitor and as an exhibitor, writes Ian Holloway.

Pre-1970 layouts were dense in track and sparse in scenic detail. During the 1970s scenic layouts were developed by modellers who made most of the features from ‘scratch’ often using simple, and sometimes unusual, materials to create a living landscape in which to run their trains.

Warley 2016: plenty of seating is always a winner at exhibitions!

These were the days when a builder’s style and methods stood out almost as a signature on a work of art.

Today realistic industrial and rural landscapes can be constructed but with some sacrifice in the originality of the scratch-builder’s craft.

Some things have not changed. It remains exciting to see a new layout from an established railway modeller, to view a layout that has featured in the model railway press, to see new people exhibiting their railway or to enjoy the company of fellow visitors and exhibitors.

I hope that the following paragraphs will encourage people who have never been to a railway show to attend as a visitor and for people who have a layout, which is portable, or transportable, to consider joining the exhibition scene as a model railway operator.

Let me first of all discuss visiting a model railway exhibition. These range from the small local show, often organised by a model railway club or by an organisation seeking to raise funds for a cause, through to the huge international class of exhibition.

For the full article, see October’s edition of Modelling – available now!

For a complete list of stockists and how to get your copy, visit: