Full steam ahead for rail show

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Steampunk
The accessories stalls were popular with this one stocking scale models of the BBC’s railway presenter Michael Portillo, known for his colourful clothing.

Rail enthusiasts and exhibitors alike came from across the south east to visit the Model Railway Exhibition at Rye Academy on Saturday April 29.

There were more than 20 model displays along with half a dozen trade stands selling a whole range of model railway paraphernalia, including miniature models of Michael Portillo (sic), the former Tory politician who now fronts the BBC’s Railway Journeys.

The exhibiting displays took us on a grand tour of the southeast, Europe and beyond, even outer space. They ranged from a scale model of Brighton’s Volks Railway, which runs along Brighton’s seafront, to models based on North American industrial cities.

Alcohol was a feature of quite a few, with a working model of the Harvey’s brewery in Lewes and a quaint model of a fictitious French town called Ville a la Campagne, which replicated the terminus of a German narrow gauge line.

The detail in some of the tiny ‘N’ gauge layouts was impressive with (please note) an array of beer wagons, front right

The arrangement was based on the French and German’s mutual love of alcohol – the French export their wine from the town while the Germans bring in their beer for the town to enjoy!

The stand-out display had to be the brooding Gothic Cato Pass. Made in only two months by special effects expert Laurie Calvert (pictured top), the model was based on a science fiction missile silo located deep in a cavern on a Saturn moon. If that wasn’t enough it included two model rockets called Shockwave and Steampunk.

Laurie, who has exhibited across the UK and at one was awarded the trophy “Best in Show”, complemented his stand by dressing in the uniform of a steampunk, an inhabitant of a post apocalyptic future where steam power is the main source of energy. You can view more of Laurie’s futuristic world on YouTube at Calvertfilm.

French railway
A sci-fi take on railways. Weird but highly original

Hundreds of people packed into the Rye Academy Trust’s Milligan Theatre to view Rye’s first Model Railway Exhibition in Rye for more than 25 years and judging by the crowds it attracted at the time of our visit, it was a huge success.

Photos: Seana Lanigan and John Minter

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