Original Thomas the Tank Engine to visit Preston Model Show!

The original models of Thomas the Tank Engine & his friends, built by their creator the Rev. Wilbert Awdry, are to visit the Preston & District Model Railway Society's annual Exhibition on the 2nd and 3rd March 2024.
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The Reverend Wilbert Awdry, author of The Railway Series and creator of Thomas The Tank Engine, was a keen Railway modeller. As he was writing the original books in the 1940s - years before Ringo Starr - he also made models of his characaters for his own Model Railway and also to show the illustrators what new engine characters would look like. From the mid 1940s up until the early 1980s, he would build numerous model locomotives, wagons, carriages and model railways to run them on all based on his books and one of the surviving model railways will be visiting the Preston & District Model Railway Society's 2024 Exhibition on the 2nd & 3rd March at Preston College.

"Ffarquhar Branch" was built in 1968 and depicts the terminus of Thomas' branchline - the station of Ffarquhar. The branch line is part of the North Western Railway in the Island of Sodor, off the North West Coast of England.

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The Reverend was naturally a Railway enthusiast and volunteered on a few of the Heritage Railways across the UK. One that was particularly close to his heart was the Talyllyn Railway in North Wales where he started volunteering in 1952, and later based some of his characters and stories on the steam engines and incidents that happened while he was volunteering there. Thanks to this close relationship, when he passed away in 1997 the contents of his study and model railway belongings were donated to the Talyllyn Railway. "Ffarquhar Branch" usually resides on display in a re-creation of the Reverend's Study in the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, seldom leaving Wales. "Ffarquhar Branch" will be visting the Preston Show with thanks to the Talyllyn Railway.

The Original Thomas The Tank Engine ModelThe Original Thomas The Tank Engine Model
The Original Thomas The Tank Engine Model

The models to be shown on the layout at the exhibition include Thomas, Annie, Clarabel, Percy, Toby, Mavis, Daisy & more. Some of the models, like Percy, date back to the late 1940s and are still in very good operational condition. They are akin to the original stuffed Winnie the Pooh - completely unique and serve as the origin point for many childhood memories.

The model railway will be run to the original timetable and a commentary written by The Reverend will be spoken aloud, narrating exactly what is happening as you view the movements.

The Preston & District Model Railway Society's 2024 Exhibition will be held on the 2nd and 3rd March at Preston College - open 10am to 5pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

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Adults are £8 and Children under 15 go for free. Wheelchair or Scooter users are £4.

There will be 20 layouts, including "Ffarquhar Branch", on display and multiple trade stands for all your model railway needs!

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