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The Gauge O Guild-hosted event at Telford each September is one of the highlights of the modelling calendar for many. More of a trade show than a model railway exhibition, the weekend provides the opportunity for modellers to talk to traders and manufactuers, along with the numerous other model 'friends' that people invariable meet. The 2018 was as superb as ever, with a wide range of model manfacturers and traders present, along with several superb layouts, that really did show some of the best modelling around.

I last compiled a report on Telford two years ago, and the number of views and comments it received suggested that it was worthwhile doing again. Unfortunatley, prior commitments resulted in me being unable to attend in 2017, but if you would like to read or see the review from 2016, please do click here. Not everyone can make the event itself, so hopefully this round up provides an overview of what was on display, comments and feedback from the various companies there, and a selection of layout images to enjoy. As previously, this is not intended to be an in-depth review of the event, nor is it an in-depth review of the news and announcements made, just purely an opportunity to share information, provide an overview and help to fill-in, and perhaps answer some questions from those who couldn’t attend over the weekend, or were too busy buying, selling and watching layouts to catch up on everything!

To me the Telford exhibition is a credit to the Gauge O Guild, and this year was no different. Personally, I travelled by train to Telford Central and then used the free minibus connection. The only criticism I can draw with this, is that it would have been useful to have had a Gauge O Guild poster or laminated A4 sheet tied to a post to indicate where the shuttle left from. I was not the only one to be slightly concerned to get off the train and have no idea where the shuttle was or even if it was actually running, until a couple of chaps with O gauge kits under their arms pointed me in the right direction!

Throughout this report there are various images, all of which can be clicked on for a bigger picture - once you have the bigger version visible, then clicking on the left or right hand half of the picture will allow you to cycle through that selection. Each part of the report is grouped into sections, where the images are concerned.

It is also right to point out that in talking to manufacturers and traders, I was talking purely as a keen and interested modeller, and the information detailed below was given freely and not under any “keep it to yourself” clause! With all of the following news reports, I have no association with any of the companies mentioned, other than as a general modeller.


CONTENTS:     News   ::    Layout Images

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Covered in this news review:

Heljan

Headline news from Heljan this morning was the announcement of a Class 56 model in O Gauge. The Type 5 has been a much sought after model, and it is now in the agenda, potentially for 2020. It is very early days however, as initial work on the design has only just started and Heljan have not yet visited one of the 'real things' for measurements and photographs yet. Also announced is the GWR AEC 'razor edge' Diesel Railcar in both OO and O gauge. Again, no timescales are planned, but Heljan say there will be six livery variations and that the vehicle will be designed for easy DCC and sound installation.

In terms of forthcoming models, the GWR 6100 Class Prairie's are now available - they are delivered as 0-6-0s, with the two pony trucks both packed in the box, for which the purchaser needs to screw the pony trucks to the model. Heljan say the reason for this is to avoid damage in the post. The GWR 4300 Class 2-6-0 EP model was on show and should appear around October. The Class 25/3 (later this year), Class 37/4 (later this year), Class 50 (early 2019) and Class 03 (mid-2019) models remain on target as expected, and Heljan say the proposed Class 47 should appear in Quarter 3 2019.

Other announcements include another run of Class 33s, in several liveries including triple grey Railfreight colours and Dutch. These are likely to appear Q3 2019 along with the Type 4. When asked about the potential of further wagons being released from Heljan, no confirmed response was received except to say it has been discussed. Details about the proposed Class 117 and 120 DMUs, originally slated for 2018, were also conspicuous by their absence.

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Dapol

Dapol had examples of its forthcoming Class 121 and 122 bubblecars on display, given the potential clash with Heljan on the former, and the far better pricing and DCC options, it will be interesting to see what happens. Im full of support for Heljan kickstarting the RTR O gauge market, but Dapol have proved again that models can be better, fitted with DCC and Sound if required, and cheaper than the Heljan offerings, with no reduction in details - it really starts to make you think what the profit mark-up is for Heljan. They certainly need to 'up their game' somewhat as the marketplace has moved on, as Dapol has proven.

Dapol also had engineering prototypes of its new Mark 1 coaches. The company says it expects it will be Easter 2019 when these hit the shops, and there are plans to develop the range further, potentially including Mk2 vehicles, if these sell. Minimum radius for the vehicles with the corridor connections coupled will be Peco Radius 2. Dapol say that modellers will be able to use to Kadee couplings, as pictured on the EP prototype, or traditional screw links.

New models announced were two new wagons, a Turbot ballast wagon and a Bogie Bolster vehicle, for which prototypes were on display and are pictured below. The initial level of detail on these models was superb. Dapol say that the Bogie Bolster, based on those built in the early 1960s, will have multi-component bolsters with correct relief, and that the stanchions will be repositionable. A total of six different running numbers will be released in Bauxite livery. The Turbot is based on the rebuilt Bogie Bolster E wagons that were created around the early 1970s, some of which gained EWS livery. The Turbot model will be released in EWS and Dutch liveries. RRP for both is £69.96 with release early to mid next year. There is the potential for further announcements at Warley, although Dapol would not be drawn on further details. The HAA wagons are on a boat that docked this weekend, so should be in the shops and with distributors within the next week, and work now proceeds on the HEA wagons, although it is likely to be Q2 to Q3 next year before these arrive in the UK. The new Sentinel model was on display, but not really photographable, unfortunately

My thanks to Andy at Dapol for his help and assistance with the following images.

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Hattons

Hattons had its example A3 and A4 locomotives on display, along with various versions of its forthcoming teak coaches. The company says the models remain roughly on target for February/March next year, although that date may slip slightly because of the extended length of time table to ensure the nose shape of the A4 was correct. It was suggested that pre-orders are perhaps not quite where Hattons would have liked them, with the thought that where as in OO gauge people are willing to commit to pre-order a model, in O gauge there is more a of 'wait and see it in the flesh' first attitude, which given the differences in the costs involved is perhaps not surprising. It is to be hoped that both are a success, and that Hattons continue to invest and develop their own range.

Photography of the prototype models on the Hatton stand was somewhat limited and difficult because of the locked glass and lighting!

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Little Loco

The Little Loco Company stand was relatively busy throughout the day, with the body of the company's forthcoming Ruston on show, along with the bogie for their next model, the Class 22. Both looked superb and amazingly detailed. It has to be said the detail on the Class 22 bogie, just has to be seen to be believed!

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Darstead/Ellis Clark Trains

The new Mark 1 vehicles were on display along with images of the proposed Suburban stock. One of my personal aims for the show was to photograph and contrast the Darstead and Dapol vehicles, but the lack of a painted example from Dapol made this somewhat difficult. Hopefully the attached images and close up views will help to answer some of the questions that have been raised. The Darstead examples looked very good from a distance, my personal view was that they did not quite have the same attraction up close. Such things are always personal preference however, and that should not be read as detracting from the Darsted models in anyway. Some bodyside detail is physically raised off the coach side, while other is printed on, and I suspect it is that, that for me, creates the difference when viewed close up.

Full marks to Ellis Clark and Darstead however for what they are doing, and the coaches were certainly generating interest for most of the day! Also on show were the superb well wagons and various other items both new and second hand.

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Skytrex

The Skytrex stand was packed full of a variety of rolling stock and detailing items. Skytrex rolling stock products have been criticised by some modellers in the past, and with some justification. In comparison to RTR offerings from Heljan and Dapol, not to mention the various kit manufactuers, some of the items have been way off or under-detailed. However, on show were the PCA cement tanks and HAA coal hoppers. Both of which looked remarkably good. In order to keep the pricing down, Skytrex are offering these items as kits, which only need a small amount of work, and should be suitable for everyone, no matter what the level or skill.

Also on show was a Mark 3 coach - The various plastic items for these (sides, body, end) were produced under the previous Skytrex business, but never released to the public. These are now being made available for £78, along with several cast resin items for £12, allowing a Mark 3 HST trailer to be built for around £90. The coach is, it has to be said, not the most detailed, and Skytrex admit there are some errors with it, for which a third party is producing a 'correction' pack. There are proposals to release an HST powercar at some point in the future, if there is enough interest provided, but nothing concrete. If this is something that is of interest to people, make yourself known to Skytrex!

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General Traders

There was a superb selection of traders at the event, and one hopes that for all of them, business was brisk and worthwhile. In contrast to 2016, the increase in the number of organisations and individuals offering laser cut MDF style buildings and structures was interesting.

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The following layouts all appeared at Telford in 2018. There has been some debate in various places recently about the appeal of the Guild to the modern traction enthusiast, and it is down to each reader to decide whether the appeal of the society is varied enough. However, it was somewhat disappointing that out of 14 layouts, two of which were test tracks, only two (Chelagasa Town) had any form of modern traction. One portrayed a railroad in New Mexico, while another gave an Irish feel. There were steam sheds, steam main lines and steam era branches, but for the modern traction enthusiasts, a somewhat poor approach, that maybe should be a focus for improvement next year? Personally, I do not believe that there should be a dominance towards any era, given the interest level of people visiting will vary dramatically, but with only space for 12 layouts among the traders, a more balanced mix would have been preferable from a personal viewpoint.


My thanks go to the owners and operators of each layout for their support with the imagery, each was asked individually, and in many cases for purposely posing locomotives or workings for a photograph! Should any of the layout owners see these images, I am more than happy for you to have the high resolution originals for you to do with as you please, just contact me.

Chelagasa Town

St Martin's Wharf

Staindrop

Arigna Town

Thorne Hill Colliery

Los Mochos

Stanfording

Newhurst

Stodden Hundreds

The Depot

Mill Bank Alley

Hyde Lane

Written by Marsh Lane, © Marsh Lane 2018. If any manufacturers are aware of any inaccuracies in this report please do contact me through rmWeb (Marsh Lane) or email marsh.lane@outlook.com