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Amberley Museum Rail Gala 2016

Matt Lovell

MATT LOVELL reports from this show last weekend, where there was steam attractions both big and small on display...

On the 9th and 10th of July I attended the annual Railway Gala weekend held at Amberley Chalk Pits Museum. This event is always one of my favourites to go to as it combines two of my interests, Model Railways and Industrial Narrow Gauge. My father (Martin) and I always like to attend this exhibition and have done for the last 27 years or more.

We are also lucky enough to be invited to exhibit our own narrow gauge railways one of which, Brown and Stickwell, has been featured in previous issues of Right Lines. (Ed's Note - See also Martin's article on building a working incline.)

Click on the images to view a larger version.

Layouts

Amberley Steam Gala

The Brown and Stickwell Treacle Quarry gained lots of interest from modellers and general public. It features a working wagon table lift and busy industrial scene with locomotives popping out of tunnels here, there and everywhere.

This exhibition featured lots of model railways all sticking to the narrow gauge/industrial theme. These railways ranged from G Scale right down to OO9 with lots of variants in between.

Here are just a few of the layouts we saw over the weekend.

Amberley Steam Gala

The South West Trams layout shows how you can build the track into a road bed to create an effective tramway scene. Here you can see an LGB tram loco hauling a Grizzly Flats Railroad coach beside the busy street.

Amberley Steam Gala

Another view of the South West Trams layout showing off the different things you can do with Narrow gauge. Using different track and locomotives but the same size figures you can create park railways.

Amberley Steam Gala

Skimbleshanks Mill is a nicely detailed industrial layout using O Scale figures on 14mm track making it roughly 2ft gauge. The key features which made this layout stand out were the unloading system at the far end and the realistic smoke generator in the chimney stack. This layout again shows that you can embed the track into a road system.

Amberley Steam Gala

The Volks Electric Railway Association attended the show with their layout, based on the real Volks railway in Brighton. This layout uses mostly scratch built stock running on modified G scale track.

Amberley Steam Gala

Dunkenby Station is one of the layouts that Martin and I took to the exhibition. The key features of this layout are the handmade buildings and the fine details on the scenery. This layout uses OO9 Scale track with OO Scale vehicles and buildings.

Full-Size Attractions

The main attraction for the Museum is the Narrow Gauge railway which runs from the main entrance to the Chalk Pits at the other end of the site (Ed's Note - which was used as a filming location for the Bond film A View To A Kill!). The railway winds through the trees and stops at three stations Amberley, Brockham and Cragside.

There are lots of to see including the Old Lime Kilns, Pottery workshops, the wood yard, the history of road making exhibit and a fairground ride or two.

Amberley Steam Gala

A side view of the old lime kilns, you can just about see the old standard gauge track bed. Restoration of these kilns are still ongoing.

Amberley Steam Gala

During my walk around the wood yard one of the carpenters was demonstrating traditional wood-working techniques, building wooden animals. Here he is attaching a tail to a small dog.

Amberley Steam Gala

The merry-go-round filled the air with atmospheric sounds from it's organ.

Amberley Steam Gala

Over this weekend there were lots of locomotives running up and down the line including various diesel, steam and battery powered machines. One of the most famous locomotives was Polar Bear the 2-4-0 Bagnall from the Isle of Man Railway.

Amberley Steam Gala

Another locomotive that was in full steam and switching between freight and passenger duties was the 0-4-0 Bagnall called “Peter”.

Along with passenger trains there were lots of freight movements taking place mostly hauled by the Hudson Hunslet and Rapier diesel locomotives

Amberley Steam Gala

The Hudson Hunslet “Blue Star” is one of the many variations of this loco taking residence at the museum and is always a popular sight. It is normally seen hauling the rake of Hudson V skips.

Amberley Steam Gala

The Ransomes & Rapier diesel locomotive can normally be seen trundling up and down the line hauling various freight trains such as Hudson skips, flat bed wagons and concrete wagons.

Amberley Steam Gala

Amberley Steam Gala

Two additional locomotives were lent to the museum especially for this weekend. These two locomotives are Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotives and drew a lot of interest from the railway enthusiasts who attended the exhibition.

Amberley Steam Gala

All in all it was a very enjoyable weekend and one I highly recommend as there is something for everyone. I was even lucky enough to have a sit in the cab of Polar Bear at the end of the day.

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