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L&B North West Group at Rainhill

The NW Group attended the 009 Society/Rainhill Model Railway Club exhibition at Rainhill, St Helens, Lancashire on Saturday 24 November 2018.

We were given a prime location at the end of the upstairs (Narrow Gauge) room of the exhibition, under a large painting of the famous Rainhill Trials of 1829.

We again used the new pop-up banners provided to local area groups, together with a sales table offering L&B merchandise for sale.

The centre-piece of the stand was Bob’s latest model layout, built to illustrate his forthcoming book "Narrow Gauge Modelling in 009 Scale" to be published in January 2019. The model shows the construction of the L&B near Raleigh Weir in the outskirts of Barnstaple in 1897/8. This is the location of a well-known photograph from the North Devon Athenaeum albums, and also the site of the ill-fated “Hole Ground” scheme for reviving the line in the late 1980s.

The show’s organisers had done a fine job with publicity and road signs, and record numbers of visitors attended. We were able to show them works trains, hauled by Nuttall’s Bagnall tank locomotives Excelsior and Slave (Bob has not yet built the Barclay Kilmarnock!), and trains carrying visitors riding on the crudely-converted bogie wagon in 1897.

Periodically, the date moved forward to early 1898, with Taw and Coach 2 in their original liveries transporting Sir George Newnes and the line’s other Directors to inspect progress.

Models of railways under construction are, it seems, rare...

...and the layout generated a lot of interest among visitors of all ages.

Beside the model, we displayed photographs of the location as it is today, in the Derby Lane housing estate in Barnstaple.

We sold worthwhile numbers of books, magazines and L&B modelling kits during the day.

In addition, we were able to sell secondhand books and model railway items that had been donated to the Group, and the proceeds from these sales (some £60) have been sent to the fund for the rebuilding of Bridges 54 and 55, recently announced.

Bob, Peter Ainley and Stuart Robertson manned the stand throughout the day, and it was good to see other L&B members who visited us for a chat. Peter took the photographs.

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