S at the GBTS

There were lots many things to see at the 2014 Great British Train Show this past weekend, and I spent about three hours at the show catching up with old friends and making new ones.

But a special treat for me was this S scale layout, built and displayed by Mike Watts. I didn’t take a camera with me, but my friend David Woodhead did and shared these photos:
 photo GBTS2014-MikeWatts-DW_zpsbdc06851.jpg

 photo GBTS2014-MikeWatts-DW-02_zps0efbf0c5.jpg

 photo GBTS2014-MikeWatts-DW-03_zpsca6af59a.jpg

(Thanks, David!)

David also reminded me that Mike was responsible for the S scale Wandle Valley Railway – a layout that was very influential on my thinking when I first saw it in the 1990s.

Unlike most exhibition layouts of the time, Wandle Valley was built as an oval, with about one-third of the loop hidden to create a staging area. The track plan (included on the link above) was simple yet realistic – and the overall presentation was most elegant.

I remember Mike had a set of flip cards to let viewers know what was happening. I can’t remember for sure, but I seem to recall that he used ambient audio – mostly bird calls – to set the mood. And he definitely showed that a simple layout, with few turnouts and spurs, could still be engaging to operate.

It was great to see Mike’s new layout – well, new to me anyway – and I look forward to spending more time enjoying it at future shows.

3 thoughts on “S at the GBTS

    • There’s more not visible in the overall photo, Simon. The two main lines leave the scene (which can just be seen at the top left of the photo) and loop around to come back in on a branch line, beyond the distant road bridge.

  1. Always great to see the British-style of layout building. Amazing what one can do with that amount of space.


    Michael Pasch

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