The World of Model Railways is situated in the fishing village of Mevagissey, Cornwall.
The model railway exhibition in one form or another has been going for 35 years now. Originally built by the late Arthur Howeson, the huge model rail layout is one of the oldest man made tourist attractions in Cornwall, attracting thousands of people a year. Paul Catchpole has been running the model railway for over a year and also runs a well stocked model railway shop attached to the exhibit and was kind enough to show me around the place.
Over 35 trains and hundreds of rolling stock travel over the layout daily. The models trains do so much work they have a life span of only two years. A truly industrial scale work out, and when Hornby Trains was based in the UK rather than in China they would bring prototype trains to run over the layout to test them out. You can’t get a better endorsement than Hornby Trains.
The model rail layout is mostly based on OO gauge, being the most common in the UK, although part of the layout is made up of the tiny N gauge which is situated on top of the Alpine part of the layout giving a wonderful sense of perspective.
The layout is rich in detail and I found myself absorbed for over an hour taking it all in. Every square inch has a little story, the fisherman, the film set, even a representation of Newquays’ Run to the Sun, where VW enthusiasts get together for a big meet.
Past visitors to the exhibition have even donated models. The Cornish mine that is now a museum, Wheel Kitty, was donated by a German modeler after visiting the rail exhibit.
The model railway is so big and complicated it has to be controlled by a pc control system, the system is made by an American company called CTI, who market themselves as “The Next Generation of Model Railroad Computer Control” You can find them here
The whole cycle of trains moving around the track takes about half an hour. Occasionally a train derails and the control system isolates that section from the main cycle, allowing the train to be put back on the rails.
A fully stocked shop resides next to the exhibit, allowing any model train hunger to be satiated in the form of say a Flying Scotsman train set or for the more hard core train enthusiast a QJ class 2-10-2 no 6800 special edition model with people’s slogans and embellishments from China.
Other model railway companies stocked include: Bachmann, Hornby, Dapol, Farish, Peco, Gaugemaster, Expo tools, Cararama, Preiser, Merten, Brawa, Faller, Gnomy, Harburn Hamlets, Woodland Scenics, Deluxe Materials, Wills, Ratio, LGB, Liliput and Bachmann China Rail
Whether you are a train modeller of many years standing or looking for somewhere to take the kids and indulge in a little lost childhood action, The World of Model Railways, Mevagissy will make a great visit.
The Mevagissey model rail website can be found here