Miss Exhibitions? Try Virtual…

Model railway exhibitions across the UK have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 situation. It’s just not possible to get so many people, in such close proximity, in a confined space… safely.

I really miss going to model railway exhibitions.

I miss the anticipation

Before I go to an exhibition I look at the layouts that will be attending and make a list of my ‘must see’ layouts. One example was Derwent Road by Bill Flude at Expo NG in 2019. I wasn’t disappointed: Great modelling, beautifully presented, built in speakers playing birdsong and DCC sound on the locos. It had real atmosphere.

I miss the unexpected

There’s always a pleasant surprise at an exhibition. At the Royston show in 2018 it was Chica Illinois by Peter North. A fictional small town in Southern Illinois in the 1950’s, a railroad is struggling to survive and decrepit buildings, track and stock. All very well modelled and I spent ages looking at it.

I miss the ‘rummage boxes’

One key aspect of an exhibition is the traders, secondhand stalls and ‘rummage boxes’. I love them all. It’s amazing what you can find.

I miss the conversations

Exhibitions are a great place to mingle with people you wouldn’t normally meet. It’s incredible how much you learn just by taking to exhibitors and other visitors. Occasionally one thing leads to another. At the Beds and Bucks in 2017 I got talking with Glyn Bennett, about his indoor narrow gauge line in G scale, the Grasslands and Wetlands Railway. Then he asked if I wanted to operate. Of course I said yes! (Thanks Glyn  🙂 ).

As we learn to live with Covid-19 in the long term, I hope that the ‘new normal’ will include model railway exhibitions. I don’t want to loose them…

That’s why I’m trying a virtual exhibition

While I wait for real exhibitions to return, I’m going to try the virtual exhibition organised by the BRM team this weekend (the 4th and 5th July 2020). I’ve made a list of the layouts I want to see, I’m sure there will be some nice surprises…. and I hope there’ll be some (virtual) rummage boxes 🙂.


I should say I’ve no connection to the exhibition, BRM or World of Railways. It’s just that the idea of a virtual exhibition intrigues me…


  1. Hi Steve.
    Met you at Doncaster show, (less is more), hope you are well.
    Just to say that the virtual exhibition is a great idea.
    “First “is still a great inspiration to actually complete a layout in my lifetime!
    Take care


    • Hi Peter
      Good to hear from you. Yes, we had a good chat at Doncaster, it was nice to meet you. Yep, less is more. I’m trying to remember that in my next layout build – it means less work too 🙂
      You can see the steps in building ‘First’ here: https://009adventure.blog/category/layout-first/ I made the curves too tight though – best avoid those…
      Maybe see you again, virtually, on Saturday or Sunday?


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