A few photos from 21st Anniversary DEMU Showcase at Burton-on-Trent from a couple of weeks ago. DEMU stands for “Diesel and Electric Modellers United”, an organisation dedicated to modelling British prototypes after the steam age, formed at a time when steam-age modelling was considered the default. Here’s the spectacular viaduct at one end of the 2mm finescale Fencehouses, set in County Durham in the 1960s.
I’m probably in a minority here, but “Diesels in the Dutchy”, based on St.Blazey in Cornwall in the late 1980s doesn’t quite do it for me. It captures the look of the place very well, including details like the stone blocks of the tramway that preceded the railway. But as someone very familar with the prototype in the era modelled, there’s an element of verisimillitude missing for me; the simplified trackplan means it doesn’t operate like the prototype, turning it into a working diorama rather than a reproduction of a real working railway.
Graeme Hedges’ Stoney Lane is a perennial exhibition favourite, a N-gauge slice of south London with all the buildings scratchbult from card and based on real buildings from the area. Graeme claims to have had a pint in each of full-sized versions of the layout’s multiple pubs.
The term “Modern Image” coined by the late Cyril Freezer after the end of the steam in 1968 needs to retired. Layouts like Wibdenshaw, set in early 70s West Yorkshire demonstrate why. It’s a time as far removed from the present as the end of steam was from the 1923 Grouping, and the railway of the early 70s was in many ways the steam-age railway with diesel locomotives at the head of the trains. Loose-coupled trains of short-wheelbase wagons or parcels trains made up of heterogeneous pre-nationalisation vans are a world away from the railway of 2015.
DEMU doesn’t do chocolate-box branch-line scenes from the inter-war years. Instead it’s lovingly modelled representations of 1980s urban decay. Farkham even features half-sunken shopping trolleys in the canal.
And finally, the show also feaures manufactures showing off their wares. Here’s some samples of the forthcoming Graham Farish Mk2a coauches in Network South East livery, looking very smart. They’re in the later version of the NSE livery as used on the Waterloo-Exeter line, which was the explanation I was giving for the absence of any first class vehicle; the Mk2a FKs painted in NSE were in the earlier version of the livery with the lighter blue, used on Thames valley services out of Paddington.