We never expected to see a Nicholas Wood looking down on a colliery inside of the Institute but the Coal Carrying Model Railways exhibition made it possible with no less than four layouts plus two exhibitions filling the library for the weekend of 11-12th June. The event was extremely popular with around 600 people attending over the weekend including families and visitors who were new to the building.
If you missed it, you can see a video of one of the layouts here thanks to Ian Britton.
The surprise joy of the weekend was the unplanned matching of layout and loco. The Paul's brought along Marine Park. This was a steam, diesel and double electric portrayal of the South Shields area about 1960. To model any of the South Shields colliery and third rail main line systems is a challenge. The layout came with correct Harton Coal Company electrics. Volunteer Robert Forsythe had not appreciated how useful his model of a South Tyneside 1955 electric train could be - an authentic prototype and one of only two models made for sale. Robert quickly arranged for his 16 year old daughter Clare to find the model and bring it along before 12 on the Saturday. It was a real hit and can be seen in the photograph below.
Thank you to everyone who made our Coal Carrying Model Railways event such a success, especially all the exhibitors, Malcolm Paul for all his work organising and promoting the event as well as the photographs here, Les Paul for sterling work taking donations, and Robert Forsythe for book sales and social media promotion. We are already thinking about how we can run a similar event next year, please do get in touch if you have any suggestions.