Model railway fans flock to annual Hartlepool show

More than 1,000 train enthusiasts from across the region steamed into Hartlepool at the weekend to enjoy an annual model railway exhibition.

Now in its 11th year, the Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition was held once again over the course of two days, offering model railway fans the chance to see a variety of different layouts on display.

Brain Gretton and grandson Dexter Harvey-Smith (8) of Hartlepool, admiring some of the model trains at the Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition on Saturday.

Brain Gretton and grandson Dexter Harvey-Smith (8) of Hartlepool, admiring some of the model trains at the Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition on Saturday.

Organised by a group of enthusiasts called the Hartlepool Model Railway Group, the event was held at the Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street, with the aim of raising funds for local charities.

Throughout the course of the weekend, visitors were able to see widely acclaimed and award-winning miniature masterpieces.

This year, organisers arranged for a total of 24 different layouts to be shown for railways fans, who were able to watch demonstrations and purchase goods from more than 27 different traders.

A highlight for many model train enthusiasts at the popular annual event was a new layout called ‘Newcastle By The Water’, which attracted crowds who gathered to see a showcase featuring multiple trains on different tracks.

The Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education on Saturday.

The Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education on Saturday.

Following the success of last year’s event, the organisers once again made the decision to hold the exhibition this month instead of July, to attract more crowds in the hope of raising more money for charity.

Co-organiser Paul Bolton, 51, said he was delighted with the turnout for the event this year.

“The event was first started by Malcolm Priestman, and I have been involved since the beginning,” he said.

“Malcolm passed away a few years ago, but we made the decision to carry it on.

The Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education on Saturday.

The Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education on Saturday.

“The event is run by a group of us under the name the Hartlepool Model Railway Group, who are all friends and passionate about model railways.

“Last year we had 1,400 people come along, and we are hoping for the same amount this year.

“The whole point of the event is to raise money for charity and bring new layouts that people haven’t seen here before.

“This year we are supporting Hartlepool Families First and the RNLI.

One of the many elaborate model railway layouts on display at the annual Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education, on Saturday

One of the many elaborate model railway layouts on display at the annual Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education, on Saturday

“We just want to raise as much as we can from the sale of tickets and a raffle, which will hopefully top last year’s total of £1,000.”

He added: “The whole idea of the event is to provide train enthusiasts with a variety of different layouts in different sizes as people have different tastes.”

Train enthusiast and former railway worker Martin Smith, 70, travelled from his home in Jesmond to the event which he praised for its high standard of models on show.

He said: “I have loved model railways for years and years.

“I used to work on Tanfield Railway and have my own model railway at home.

“I came along last year as well and it is a great event because it has a good standard of models on display.

The popular Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education on Saturday.

The popular Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education on Saturday.

“I really enjoyed the event and I think it is one of the biggest in the area.”

One of the many elaborate model railway layouts on display at the annual Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education, on Saturday

One of the many elaborate model railway layouts on display at the annual Hartlepool Model Railway Exhibition at the College of Further Education, on Saturday