Expo Narrow Gauge 2017

On Saturday the Greenwich and District Narrow Gauge Railway Society held their annual narrow gauge show, Expo NG. It is a massive event with a huge number of layouts, an even bigger number of trade stands and lots and lots of visitors.

This year I decided to take it easy. I travelled by train (avoiding the M11, M25, and Dartford Crossing)  and arrived as large numbers of people were leaving (many of them clutching bags full of things they had brought). The journey was much more pleasant and it was easier to see the layouts 🙂

Here is a selection of photos. (I tried to photograph more layouts but the photos weren’t always successful. If your layout isn’t featured, that’s the reason).

First, Mers les Bains a 1:32 scale, 32mm gauge layout by Peter Smith. It represents a fictional French metre gauge line on the Picardy coast in the 1950’s. The layout has a lovely French feel.

I was impressed by the scratchbuilt stock…

…and the wonderful French scenes that populate the layout.

The wagon turntable leading to the goods shed is so very typical of rural French narrow gauge lines. This layout was recently featured in Voie Libre magazine. The article was impressive, but the layout is even better in real life. Very inspiring modelling.

Regular readers will know that I am drawn to industrial layouts and, true to form, I fell for South Downs Tar by Dave Ward.

I thought this 0-16.5 layout had bags of atmosphere and was very well modelled. I was admiring the brickwork on the buildings, when Dave told me is is Noch brick paper. I would never have thought brick paper could give such great textures.

Dave has created lots of interesting scenes and structures throughout the layout.

It got me thinking about modelling something industrial. I’m not sure I can achieve this high standard though….

Let’s take a look at four smaller layouts. This is Creech Grange, 4mm scale, 6.5mm gauge by James Hilton. James used Busch HOf feldbahn track and mechanisms and build his own British style stock onto the Busch chassis.

The above photo is deceptive. Here is the whole layout, sitting on top of it’s transport box.

It is amazing how much detail James has managed to get into such a small space and onto such small rolling stock. The slow running of the locos is superb. I think James has successfully demonstrated that this is a very viable scale / gauge combination for British outline modellers.

Castle Quay, by Chris O’Donoghue is an 009 layout built in an old wine bottle box that I had seen online but never in real life. It was inspired by the fisherman’s beach and net sheds in Hastings, England. I hadn’t realised it was so small (50cm long x 32cm wide or 19.5  x 12.5 inches).

The layout is an ‘Ingelnook’ design and offers lots of shunting potential. The buildings, quay side and backscene are all images printed onto paper. I was really impressed with the textures the papers have created and how much detail Chris has successfully worked in to such a small space. Proof that limited space isn’t a barrier to good modelling.

Also in 009, Sand Point by Richard Glover, is a small terminus on the south-western coast of England, set sometime in 1920 to 1935. This is another layout that I had seen online and it was so much better to see it in real life.

It is not often you see a boat jetty so well modelled.

Back by popular demand was Ted Polet’s Creag Dubh Summit. This little layout won the Dave Brewer Memorial Challenge at this exhibition in 2016. I didn’t get a good look at it last year and I  enjoyed getting a second chance to see it this year. It really looks like the rocky summit of a mountain railway and is a very nice bit of modelling indeed.

I did endulge in the retail experience that ExpoNG offers. I got some 7mm figures from S&D Models (the guys on the stand laughed when I produced a list of what I wanted), some slide bars and connecting rods from RT Models (including an excellent explanation of how to solder them together) and some secondhand sacks of potatoes from the 7mm NGA stand (a bargain).

Many thanks to the Greenwich club for organising this event. I’ve been to four or five Expo NGs and this was the most enjoyable by far.



  1. Hello Steve

    I missed you! Didn’t see you all day. But then I was hiding!! South Downs Tar was judged best layout for the David Lloyd Trophy. The other trophy went to the Lampton & Verdane Tramway. Perhaps 7mm scale is the way to go these days!!



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