Layouts we Love: Engaging the next generation of modellers

When my twin sons were three years old in 1984 I got them two Playmobil sets and extra track, writes Walter Turner.

So that they could both run the trains over the same track at the same time, and not have to know about isolation sections, I invested in an Airfix Multiple Train Control System that was produced from 1978-79.

The Multiple Train Control System consists of a main control unit that can control up to 16 locomotives, but only a maximum of four can be controlled at any one time with plug-in hand controllers. There are also modules to fit into the locomotives. As time went on we bought more train sets and extra locomotives and stock.

The advantage of the system is that four operators can control four locomotives independently at the same time. Over the years we have increased our stock of Playmobil locomotives and trains.

We started exhibiting the Playmobil trains in 1998 when there was a model railway exhibition held locally and, to help out, my wife and I said we would put on our Playmobil trains. A layout was designed to fit on the tables provided at the hall, so that four trains would be available to operate.

Various Playmobil items were put on the layout. We then exhibited at other events, covering the tables with a green cloth. We even exhibited it on the floor of a barn.

Walter and Marion with the award for the best layout in show at Lytham in October 2012. Right: Christmas layout pictured at a show in 2014.

The following year we were asked to exhibit the trains again and we also took it out to other exhibitions.

We were now being asked to go to different venues, so I decided that we needed to have our own boards.

As we’d had to lift up our children when we used to take them to model railway exhibitions, it was decided that the boards should be low enough for children to be able to see over the top of them without having to be lifted up by their parents. The boards also had to fit into the small trailer we had.

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

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