Just down the road from me is the West's largest annual show. Its layouts usually only feature one or two modern image ones, though in years past the trade stands have been worth a visit for the kind of stuff you can't pick up from the limited range at my local model shop, though it has to be said that usually covers things you never knew you needed (and probably don't!).
It does get fairly busy which is a minus and I learnt, from an horrific experience last year, to make sure I ate before I came out. The "food" on sale there is absolutely awful, I can't quite work out if it reminds me of communist-era East Berlin or 1970's M1 Service Station....
I really only liked Barry & Penarth's layout,
Well laid track & lineside (which could have been weathered though) and some nice stock, all set off by regular, trouble-free action.
Some of the others were a major disappointment, unrealistically weathered stock and very bad running.
The traders are a bit thin, Squires is good for tools and Shawplan, but I usually order via mail order, one trader who does sell some good stuff is Replica Railways, their modern image decals are v.good, though they don't have a website (????!!), so if you didn't visit a show like this you'd never know they existed!
DEMU Showcase - Burton - June 08
If, like me, the modern image diesel and electric scene is your thing, then DEMU is the society to join. No kettles (steam engines!), GWR, or all that old hat stuff, just good solid BR Blue, BR Sectors and privatised railways.
The show at Burton has some great layouts and a goodly selection of traders that concentrate on modern stock, parts, conversion kits etc, plus the stalwarts of the trade such as Precision Paints, Shawplan (for nameplates and other stuff), DCC suppliers and such like.
I dragged my griping 10 year old up there this morning from Cheltenham and after I'd got him a drink and a Snickers to give myself 10 mins peace, had a good look round.
First thing I noticed was the absence of my personal favourite trader, Express Models , who sell the largest conceivable selection of lighting for your trains and layout, I hear that they will only be doing mail order from now on, which is a great shame.
The layouts seemed to be a pretty high standard, my favourite (and my son's) being Holland Park (from the bloke who created Dyserth Road - another brilliant layout)...
The most striking thing being the two, fully working, DCC controlled container cranes (by Heljan), on top of the high quality stock, such as this Fastline Freight Class 56...