On Saturday 16th February at Parmiters School, Watford was the Watford Finescale Show, a collection of 46 stands tailored for the model railway enthusiast and hosted by the Watford and District Railway Club, North London Group. Many of the layouts showcased at the Show had been published in Model Railway magazines or had won prizes at the model railway equivalent of Chelsea Flower Show ; the Railway Modeller Cup.

Some of the main talking points however were the layouts themselves; like display 22. Fen End Pit had a fully working crane and pully system to accurately recreate a quarry scene to 0 gauge. It came complete with a revolving drum and full working conveyor belt all to scale. Display 36 ‘Sumatra Road’ was set in the late 50’s- early 60’s and based on a station from the creators’ childhood in London. It featured multiple levels including lower level platforms, with a road running above and buildings on top and even a block of flats.

However the industrial side wasn’t the only thing celebrated at the show; display 41 Springfield Spa was a small N-gauge layout based on a 1930s Great Western Rail end of line. This small layout had hills and incredibly detailed buildings and landscaping.  Another fantastic layout of note was display 3 Stepley Tramways; a tram system with working signals and a miniature camera fixed to one tram that could be driven by visitors. The tram was controlled by an authentic driving wheel giving an authentic driving experience.

The shows main audience were a mainly older male crowd, intent on recreating the train-spotting of their youth; although there were the few long-suffering wives and girlfriends as well. A smattering of small boys, brought up on Thomas the Tank Engine,  looked around with their mothers, making authentic train noises and “oohing” and “awwing” over each smoke chip and moving piece.

Whilst tea and squash was on tap in the canteen area others walked around buying  everything from foam boards to perfectly scaled down trees from sellers stands. These stands helped create an atmosphere in the room and made the show incredibly useful for all modellers there.

I went along with my family and must say I was surprised by the happiness of all the people there, as the older men suddenly regressed to their childhood selves again looking around in glee as if they were in a sweetshop. This happiness really radiated around the entire show and gave it a brilliant feeling of joy.

Overall,  this quintessentially British show was very successful and enjoyed by all.