Hundreds of model rail fans steam along to Hartlepool show

Model rail enthusiasts have steamed along to a popular annual exhibition this weekend.

More than 1,500 visitors from far and wide are expected to visit the Hartlepool Model Railway Show at Hartlepool College of Further Education, which started today.

An exhibit from this year's show.

An exhibit from this year's show.

Running into tomorrow, it features over 50 detailed model rail layouts and a host of trade stands.

The show is raising money for Hartlepool’s Alice House Hospice and Great North Air Ambulance service.

Visitors came to see the exhibition from across the North East region - with some travelling from Scotland and Yorkshire.

Paul Appleton, one of the show’s organisers, said: “Without a doubt it brings people into Hartlepool that otherwise wouldn’t be here and fills up guest houses and bed and breakfasts.

Without a doubt it brings people into Hartlepool that otherwise wouldn’t be here

Paul Appleton, show organiser

“A lot of people make a weekend of it and combine it with visiting friends of Beamish.

“People were queuing past the flagpoles to get in first thing on Saturday morning.”

The exhibits which drew the most attention were Grantham, a detailed recreation of a stretch of the East Coast Mainline by Graham Nicholas featuring scale models of the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard.

And the Museum of Transport, by Robin Brogden, drew lots of admirers with its lifting bridges, moving boats and cars, and of course trains, including a tiny miniature railway ride.

Hartlepool man Malcolm Priestman, who passed away several years ago, was the driving force behind the exhibition.

His legacy is continued by fellow enthusiasts who give out a Malcolm Priestman Trophy every year to the best exhibit.

Paul added: “We are all volunteers and just do it to raise money for the charities.

“It takes a lot of preparation but we enjoy doing it. We are already planning for next year.”

Exhibitors have come from as far away as London and Morecambe. This year’s show is expected to raise between £1,000 and £1,500 for charity.