All aboard! Model railway exhibition steams into Pudsey Civic Hall

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A layout from Narrow Gauge North 2024.

A popular model railway exhibition, Narrow Gauge North 2024, will be pulling into Pudsey next week, promising a day of delights for model railway fans and their families.

This much-loved event will take place at Pudsey Civic Hall on Saturday 9 March between 10.30am and 4.30pm with organisers hoping to beat last year’s numbers and attract more than 400 visitors.

The event has raised £115,000 for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice over the past 29 years.

Set up in 1994 by Ron Redman, a keen model train enthusiast who worked as a fundraiser at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley, the event has gone on to raise a staggering £115,000 for the charity over the last 29 years. 

Pudsey Civic Hall. Photo: Ivor Hughes

19-year-old student Oliver Kirkby is organising the show this year, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. He said: “For many years my grandad organised the exhibition – he did it until 2015. Another long-time supporter took on this role from 2016-2017 with help from my Dad, and then Dad was in charge for a few shows. I took it over completely in January 2023 though I’d been helping out quite a bit before that.

“My love for model railways comes from my family really. My dad and my grandad used to take me to railways and railway exhibitions when I was much younger. I’m lucky enough to have a 009 narrow gauge layout at home – it fills an entire small bedroom!”

The exhibition offers a range of attractions that will appeal to people of all ages. Oliver explained: “We have a variety of exhibitors – those who have built their own model railways including the track, the buildings and the scenery, including the fine details. We’re also pleased to welcome a number of societies and key supporters.”

This year there will 13 traders, 21 layouts and six societies who will be attending.

Tickets costs £10 for adults and £1 for accompanied children. Family tickets are available for £15, which covers 2 adults plus accompanied children.

Oliver confirmed: “We see quite a lot of families turning up – grandparents will take their grandkids for a day out to see the trains. We get a whole range of ages coming through the doors, which is good to see.”

A second-year computer science student, Oliver has been working on plans for this year’s exhibition since July 2023, with the key planning stages starting at the beginning of September.

He confirmed: “It’s quite a logistical challenge. You’ve got to make sure you’re on top of it and that everything (and everyone) fits into the hall!”

When asked about his involvement with Narrow Gauge North 2024 (NGN), and what it means to him, Oliver said:

“It means a great deal to me – I’m extremely passionate about model railways. I’m proud that NGN can continue supporting Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice by raising vital funds that will make an impact on the lives of those when they really need it.”

Michael Tarbatt, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, said: “I think I can speak on behalf of everyone at the hospice to say that we’re blown away by the huge amount of money that has been raised by Narrow Gauge North over the past 29 years and are so grateful for their ongoing support.

“Not only are Narrow Gauge North helping raise vital funds so we can provide care for local families when it matters, they’re creating a day out to remember.”

For more information on Narrow Gauge North 2024, visit www.narrowgaugenorth.org.uk or emailadmin@narrowgaugenorth.org.uk

For more information on Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, visit www.sueryder.org/Wheatfields

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