BLOG: The Countdown is on…

Photo: Mark Darragh's 'OO' gauge layout Rannoch


As I write there’s less than a week to go before I head north for the annual Model Rail Scotland exhibition at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

Model Rail Scotland is a favourite of mine, a show I’ve been attending both as an exhibitor with Hornby Magazine and as a visitor for more than 20 years. One of my modelling passions is BR Scottish Region 1970s-1990s, so the show certainly piques my interest as there are usually a good deal of Scottish layouts to keep me entertained.

In the past, when visiting for leisure, I’ve tried to tie in a quick trip up the West Highland Line at some point or bought a day rover train ticket and travelled on a line or two that I’ve not been on before.

In more recent times I’ve been at the show all three days in my Hornby Magazine capacity and even so, I often come away wishing I’d spent more time looking at a specific layout as there is just so much to see, whether it’s Scottish themed displays, visiting layouts, the varied trade stands, book stalls, manufacturers or association stands.

I’ll be taking to the rails on the Thursday of the show with a trip up the East Coast Main Line to Edinburgh on one of the new LNER Azumas, followed by a short sojourn in the Scottish capital, hopefully to catch a few glimpses of the ScotRail Inter7City HSTs, and then on to Glasgow Queen Street, which was undergoing major works when I passed through last year.

LNER Class 91 + Mk 4 set prepares to depart Edinburgh Waverley. February 2017

Once I’ve helped the team put the Hornby Magazine stand together, there might be time for a quick trip into Glasgow Low Level and then a circuit of the ‘Clockwork Orange’ underground system. Then, when the show is open on the Friday my first port of call is usually the Friends of the West Highland Line stand to stock up on back issues of West Highland News, followed by a quick scour of the trade stands for suitable Scottish-inspired ‘OO’ locomotives, multiple units or rolling stock – just in case… It’s rare I come away from the show without a couple of locomotives and a few carriages to add to my Scottish Region roster – which is vying with my Southern Region stock – and my modern-era roster… (note to self: I think I may have far too many rosters). Then, to the layouts – it’s another impressive line-up with the likes of Rannoch, Elliot Bridge, Hornsey Broadway, Towcester, Melton Mowbray (North) and many more guaranteed to keep me occupied across the weekend.

Over the past few weeks I’ve gradually been assessing my BR Mk 1, Mk 2 and Mk 3 carriage fleet and developing a few plausible train formations from the 1980s such as West Highland passenger and freight trains as well as Edinburgh-Glasgow push-pull services and unearthing a few slightly more quirky models too, including the ‘Mexican Bean’ Class 104 DMU and three ETHELs (Electric Train Heating Ex-Locos)! Judging by the price labels some were purchases at Model Rail Scotland several years ago when I still had my ‘OO’ Highland terminus layout, which is sadly no more. That said, I have lots of ideas in mind for something in the future – I just need to find the time and space for it.

47708 Waverley and Mk 2 DBSO

Having recently picked up the new pair of Oxford Rail Mk 3 TSOs in ScotRail livery, I now have enough carriages to complete three push-pull sets, with DBSOs and Class 47/7s, and rather scarily I have quite a few BR Mk 1 and Mk 2 carriages in blue/grey, together with plenty of Mk 3 sleeping cars (oh, and some Mk 1 sleepers too…). I’m sure that after next weekend, there may be a few more additions.

Classic ScotRail traction

If you’re heading to Model Rail Scotland next weekend, do pop by the Hornby Magazine stand and say hello – the team, including both Richard Watson and I, will be there each day. We look forward to seeing you.

Model Rail Scotland takes place at the SEC, Exhibition Way, Glasgow from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 February. Doors open at 10.30am on Friday, 10am on Saturday and Sunday. Visit for more details.

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