Brilliant Burton: 7mm Narrow Gauge Association Exhibition 2019

Last Saturday the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association held their annual exhibition in Burton on Trent. This year is the 40th Anniversary of the Association and the exhibition was expanded to include over 20 layouts, traders, demonstrators and the society stands. I have to say it was an excellent exhibition and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Charmouth by David Taylor was built in the early 1980s, when the 7mm NG Association was still young, and (I suspect) this layout did much to popularise O scale narrow gauge.

The layout was inspired by the Welshpool & Llanfair, Southwold Railway and Culm Valley. As there wasn’t much trade support at the time the original buildings and stock are scratchbuilt. It’s a lovely layout and definitely stands the test of time.


Hulme End by Paul Holmes represents one terminus of the Leek and Manifold Light Railway. It is modelled in 1:43.5 scale and 17.5mm gauge to accurately represent the 2 foot 6 inch (762 mm) gauge of the original line.

I’ve cycled along the old trackbed and I have to say the layout really captures the atmosphere of Hulme End and the local landscape.

The river beds in the area are litered with small rocks and stones, and Paul has modelled this perfectly.

Layouts do not have to be big to be beautiful. This is ‘Just a Quick Lager’ by Jurgen Heinritz. It is little inglenook layout measuring 50 x 30 cm (approx. 20 x 12 inches) and is exquisitely modelled. I had seen Jurgen’s layout in Narrow Lines and was looking forward to seeing it in real life.  It didn’t disappoint. Sometimes less is more.

The layout links to a simple, effective traverser measuring 40 x 30 cm (approx 16 x 12 inches). Who says fiddle yards have to be complex?

Tony’s Forest is a very clever O-14 layout by Robin Edwards. The viewer looks through trees in the foreground of the layout to see the trains.

This creates the impression that the viewer is looking through a landscape and seeing trains as part of that landscape. It’s a very unusual and effective idea.

Robin has some lovely stock. Look at this Simplex.

I was particularly impressed with the wild flowers Robin has created. Definitely something to aspire to.

One end of the layout has a stone crushing plant and the rock faces are very realistic. Robin cast them himself using Woodland Scenics moulds.


I was rather taken with the 5.5mm Association’s display of layout modules, including Carter’s Bridge by Bob Hughes a fictional extension to the original 3 foot gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway…

… Miteside Halt, on the actual 3 foot R&ER, where an upturned boat was used as a passenger shelter…

.. and Shannon Tramway a 3 foot gauge rural Irish tramway.

The modules featured some lovely modelling, for example this Irish cottage.

I was very impressed with the concept. Perhaps I should suggest my club make some modules….

Finally, another layout I was looking forward to seeing was Shifting Sands by Colin Peake. Colin has created the Somerthorpe Miniature Railway a 15 inch (approx. 380mm) gauge line that runs between the dunes to the seaside.

It’s a very compact layout, packed with detail while retaining a sense of spaciousness – a very difficult balancing act. Colin’s created lots of very attractive stock….

… captured the atmosphere of a miniature railway…

…and the British seaside.

From Andrew Neale Books I brought a facsimile of a 1930s O&K catalogue. I wasn’t that familiar with O&K products but I have to say the catalogue is full of interesting stock. Don’t these goods wagons cry out to be modelled?

The 7mm Narrow Gauge Association exhibitions are always good, but this years was extra special. I’d like to thank the organisers for putting on such a great day.

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