Saturday, 26 November 2016

A Warley Wander...

Hi all. A quiet morning was spent today wandering around the 2016 Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC. We've been coming here annually for about 14 years now and the show is always impressive. This year it was billed to have over 90 layouts on offer in various gauges as well as countless traders, demonstrators and society displays so, once again, we couldn't really miss it. We poured into the show at 9:15am with the rest of the rabble of 'Advanced Ticket' holders and immediately set to wandering around the huge hall. The centrepiece locomotive for this year was the new build GWR 6800 Grange - No6880 "Betton Grange". Based at Llangollen, the project to build 6880 has been ongoing since 1998 and the engine is now at a fairly advanced stage. Of the 80 Grange class 4-6-0s built for the Great Western, none were preserved and so came about 6880. The Grange's were basically Hall's with smaller wheels. The two classes both carried the No1 boiler and the smaller wheeled 6800 class therefore gained a slightly higher tractive effort than the 4900. "Betton Grange" is certainly getting there now and it will be good to see it finally take to the rails under its own steam. The last Grange operated under BR in 1965!

Also on display in Hall 5 this year were a pair of the Vale of Rheidol Railway's beautiful 1ft 11.75" gauge 2-6-2 tanks. One was in an under-overhaul state but standing alongside was "Prince of Wales", finished in a beautiful GWR livery...
GWR 1213 was the number given to VoR No2 when the GWR took over operations following the 1923 amalgamation. The VoR had initially commenced operations in 1902. In 1924 a fully overhauled '1213' emerged but it was later discovered that the engine had actually been built brand new and the old 1213 had been scrapped. These days, VoR No9 "Prince of Wales" carries the number of her scrapped former, continuing the cover-up lets say. We can only assume that the original 1213 was far past life expired and the Great Western simply found it easier to replace it. The three VoR steamers operating the railway in the present day were all built in 1923/24. We'll have to visit the Vale of Rheidol one day. Their engines are beautiful machines but its a long way to Aberystwyth! After a pleasant few hours at the Warley show and a pint in the Wetherspoons, we headed home after a nice morning out. The Warley show is always worth a look and it wouldn't quite be the same without being half beaten to death by the rucksacks of several thousand bobble hatted model railway enthusiasts! Cheers, Sam...

2 comments:

David Chandler said...

Nice one Sam, I have never been to Warley before. Used to go to exhibitions a lot when I was younger as my dad is big into modelling, his club have an invite to take their layout there next year so I might have to visit then. I did go to Birmingham International on Saturday night however to photograph Mr Riley's Black 5's parked up there overnight. Unfortunately I got stuck there until around midnight waiting for a train back home, signal problems at New St and the crowds from the big pop concert going on in the arena at the NEC led to some serious overcrowding! Two London Midland services got completely filled up and I and many others had to squeeze on to the last one to Coventry. Was frustrating to have to cram into 3 cars EMUs when there was a nice long WCRC train in platform 1! I guess that's what they call progress...

Sam Brandist said...

Hi there David, thanks for the comment. We've always gone to Warley as a tradition and of course I've took the LEGO layout there 4 times, most recently in 2013. Always had a brilliant time there and when we used to take the LEGO it was always popular. I did think about heading out Sunday morning to spot the Five's but didn't in the end. Maisie was at the NEC for the Free Radio show and she shared your experience with the EMU's. In the end they had so much of a nightmare trying to get back that they caught a rail replacement bus as LM simply couldn't shift the amount of people required! All the best David, many thanks