March 2013's Exhibition

was the Club's Silver Jubilee.

In this section of the site

see and read some of the highlights

from 'around' the exhibition.


An exhibition weekend is a very busy one for those organising and stageing it - and that's a bit of an understatement! Club members were invited to attend a Jubilee Party a couple of weeks before hand to mark the event. A commemorative plaque was unvelied by Cllr Alan Kerr, the Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, in the presence of the Deputy Mayor. Photo's from this event appeared in the local newspaper, The Shield's Gazette, the following week leading up to the exhibition. There are a couple of photos below, more can be found in the photograph section.


After the photos are are some articles that also appeared in the commemorative show guide. It was felt important to record some thoughts that can be reflected on in the years ahead!


Here's to the next 25 years!


We succesfully applied for and receieved a grant from the Jarrow and Boldon Community Action Forum.


A cheque presentation took place just before the doors opened on the Sunday of the exhibition weekend.


Above is a photo of the presentation with Cllrs Faye Cunningham and Ray Meeks .


Above Cllrs Faye Cunningham and Ray Meeks with John on his layout, Rue de Tinques.


Below are a series of articles that appeared in the Exhibition Guide.

It was felt that we had to make some sort of record of the Jubilee from those parts of our hobby that matter. With that brief we set off and interviewed : three members, a trader and a modeller who exhibits. They make good reading. Let us know what you think?

Very many thanks to all who contributed.





The Traders point of view

– Mick from Durham Trains of Stanley is interviewed


How did you start in Model Railways?


I got my first train set when I was 4 and started to make models when I was 7 or 8. I used my first airbrush at 12 and from there on the rest is history! Then I’ve just tried to get better at it.


I understand you didn’t always have a model shop. How did you get into the retail side?


I used to managed an electrical store – Rumbellows back in the 80’s and 90’s which gave me management skills and then went on to work for EMA Model Supplies working for them for 5 years giving me the buzz and knowhow of how to run a model shop. I always wanted to run a model shop. As it needed money I went lorry driving for 15 years and that gave me the capital to do what I do now which I’ve had for the last 5 years. It’s been hard work but very rewarding and we have a good customer base. There aren’t many people who can work with their hobby and enjoy work at the same time! But like any job it has its moments – but I wouldn’t change it for the world.


What’s it like being invited to an Exhibition – loading the van and all that?


It’s hard work and can be tedious as well. Planning well in advance is the key; we bear in mind the size of the show, attendance, what we are going to take and how much space we have what kind of transport we need. The bigger the Exhibition the more stuff we need to take. With our new stand we now tend to use the van. It’s not difficult once we’ve set up we just stand there and sell and hope it’s worth our while!


When people come to the stand and ask for something odd and bizarre and you haven’t got – what happens then?


We show as much enthusiasm as possible and if we haven’t got it we see if we can help and try to keep the customer happy. This seems to work.


What’s it like having a professional weatherer and DCC man on board?


Yeh – very good! I employed Simon 12 months ago. I certainly needed someone to come on board as I was working 24/7. I was doing more hours than lorry driving and not seeing the wife and kid! He was the best person for the job and he snapped my hand off! He’s a good asset to the company and has great ideas some of which will be implemented in the foreseeable future.






(and Your Layout)


What’s involved?

A lot of hard work, which gets harder as the years go by!


Preparation – includes: repairing any damage, cleaning wheels, lubricating axles/gear-boxes and testing; cleaning/renewing the wheel and track cleaners; checking all the ancillary and electrical equipment; loading the van (now how does it all fit in?); double-checking everything against the check-list as it goes in the van.


Travel - you now have an often long journey, probably in winter weather on a Friday afternoon and then have to find a remote leisure-centre on the outskirts of a big city, all the time wondering what you’ve forgotten.


Set-up - Assuming you’ve found the venue without too many wrong turns and too much bad language, you now have to unload the van and get set up. Most exhibitions are now in leisure centres or school gyms with ground-level access through wide fire-doors, so hopefully no more stairs and narrow corridors! All you have to do now is assemble the layout, connect the wiring, clean the track, check it all works, fix the lights, place all the demountable buildings, vehicles, figures, animals, cranes, trees and other details, and put up the name boards, information boards, maps and photographs. At some point you will probably collapse in a heap to have asandwich and a cup of tea when you run out of energy. If any gremlins have got into the electrics or point-rodding you may be there burning your fingers on a hot soldering iron until the exhibition manager throws you out. Then you have to find the hotel/B&B in the dark, along unfamiliar roads with the aid a sketch map of variable quality (and with luck spot a good pub on the way).


The exhibition

Up bright(?) and early on Saturday morning for a full-English and drive back to the venue by 9am at the latest for last minute tweaks and setting out all the rolling stock in the right positions to start operating. You may find you are being watched while doing this if there were long queues outside and the doors are opened early. You then have to face the public in all their vast array of shapes, sizes, ages and personalities. Hopefully you will receive or overhear lots of complimentary remarks and not too many criticisms. However you will also have to answer lots of questions while operating trains in a reasonably prototypical manner – always sensible and safer to have a spare operator to answer the questions or take over operating while you do. With our big layout which is over 20 years old, it can be difficult to remember all the details of how we made this, and what make that kit is. It’s useful to have a file of reference material and a list of all the obscure kits that we used. And this is what makes it all worthwhile: listening to comments from genuinely interested children, mums and grandmas who are delighted with the scenery and set-piece groups of people and animals, answering questions from modellers who want to do something similar, and best of all chats with people who live or grew up in the area the layout is based on and hearing reminiscences from retired railwaymen who remember driving or firing a particular engine. We remember these people and forget the nit-pickers and rivet-counters!


Donald Annison






Why is being part of a club important to you?


In a nut shell it has helped me find new people with a greater understanding of model railways. It’s great attending the club talking with new friends and learning about the huge array of skills and techniques involved.


Has the Club helped you in any particular way?


Yes, I now have a particular interest on modelling Narrow Gauge Railways. I’ve been building OO9 kits – locos, wagons and buildings! I’ve also got involved in the heritage railway movement doing up narrow gauge locos and wagons at Tanfield. I do also have OO stuff as well.


What’s the best thing about being in a club?


I have only been here a few years and feel very welcome and part of things. The senior members are always willing to help and share their knowledge of modelling and the world of railways and all that falls in between.


Why Perth Green MRC?


A friend of mine attends the club and had kept asking me to join. After the first night I was hooked!


What is it like modelling in our clubroom?


Great! When I get stuck there is so much help on offer. I’ve learned to cut plastic properly and how to get great results painting to just name two things. It is also great to hear the feedback and where I can make improvements for next time.


What’s with all the Eddie Stobart Clothing and is there a link to the hobby?


(Laughing he says) I‘m a big fan of the Group that started on holiday trips spotting Lorries on the roads! In 2006 when the Group entered the rail market working with Direct Rail Services and Tesco I was well pleased. I jumped at the chance to model this - getting my own engines and container wagons. Hence one of my nicknames at the club – VEG!


A younger perspective by 18 year old Thomas






36 years ago, writes Tommy, I joined the Washington Model Railway Club. We became homeless and eventually arrived here at Perth Green Community Association. We were a little concerned that there were no younger members coming along – there was no young blood! I’m now very pleased as we have a good number of young members so it looks like hopeful the club will continue for many years to come.


Here we are at our 25th Exhibition – our Silver Jubilee – and how the years fly! I have no doubt that with the work of the Exhibition Committee and the Club Members; we should have another successful weekend.


I then asked Tommy “As one of the founding fathers of the club, what is it like now you are one of the senior members?”

With a look of startled horror on his face he said “Now there’s a thing in’t it! Ye’feel old when ye’see all these young uns! I’m still learning though, I never what to stop that! There was a point when we thought model railways and the club would die out. But look at all these young ones here, I, that’s a good thing.”


Being more than a little provocative I asked Tommy about all these ‘modern trains’ that members have and what he models.

“Ah! I’ve got nay interest in the models but you have to cater for them haven’t you. I don’t even bother going to the station and taking my camera as there is nothing worth taking! I started modelling late 50s early 60s, the end of steam and the first generation diesels. But now it tends to be the 70s the blue grey period. At a push the early 80s but after that no – it’s all the American things, these locos and these units.”


Wanting to see how far he would go, I asked about the club plans for the new Brockley Whins Metro station and then the talk of an older version.

“Well I’m more in favour of the older one, but as I say, if the younger ones want a modern one, then you have to cater for them otherwise you just loose them wouldn’t you! You’ve got to keep them interested.”






John, our Club Treasurer, gives the definitive Club history


It was a cold wintry Wednesday night in February 1986 when a motley bunch of itinerant railway modellers arrived at the gates of Perth Green Community Association in a pink Ford Transit van with the unfortunate name of “Herbert’s Small Tools” emblazoned along the side. Inside were some of the members of the recently defunct Washington Model Railway Club along with a few baseboards, trestles, tools and some track.


Thus Perth Green Model Railway Club was born.


Previously the building had been a school and the room we were allocated for our new clubroom had been a science lab so we had to arrange our baseboards on the workbenches avoiding the gas and water taps. There was plenty of storage space in cupboards under the benches for stuff we didn’t have.


As Washington MRC we had held annual model railway exhibitions and decided to continue. After a settling in period we arranged our first show for May 1988. It was our first show and almost our last as we had inadvertently chosen Cup Final weekend and the weather was ridiculously hot. Consequently people either stayed in to watch the football or went to the beach. The show was still a small success as we had invited only local layouts and traders. One of these layouts was from Oxclose MRS and this eventually led to their membership coming to join us permanently after rent at their previously premises became unaffordable. Some members of Oxclose club are still with us as are some of the former members of Washington MRC who were the founder members of Perth Green MRC.


Since then others have come and gone but membership for the last few years has been around 40. We are lucky to have a thriving younger membership in their teens or early twenties who we hope will eventually take over the running of the club when we are no longer able.


So from that first exhibition in 1988 we have developed our show into one of the North East’s premier exhibitions and now have visiting layouts, traders and guests from all over the country. We pride ourselves on presenting good quality exhibitions and this year we have an excellent selection for you to view, 25 years on from the first one hence the title for this year – THE SILVER JUBILEE EXHIBITON.




© Perth Green Model Railway Club 2017