The north-east of England has a long and proud railway history.
The region was home to railway pioneer George Stephenson who revolutionised the way the world travels. Renowned as the "Father of Railways", Stephenson gave people an easy method of moving between towns and cities. Newcastle is also home to the first ever commuter route connecting the city centre with North Shields, built in 1839. The route recently celebrated its 175th anniversary with a special steam event.
Moving down from the Tyne & Wear region and into County Durham, the railways played a huge role in the coal mining trade. While today the mines are closed, the relationship with the railways remains strong. Shildon is home to the second National Railway Museum in the UK, with the main site being in York.
Over the years it has been home to some of the most famous steam trains to ever grace the rails with the likes of the Mallard and Flying Scotsman among the locomotives paying visit to Shildon. However, this weekend (June 7th to 8th) it is the turn of the model railways as the Shildon Model Railway Club Exhibition returns to the museum for another year.
Hosted by the Shildon Model Railway Club there will be a range of layouts on display including various traders showing off their latest products. When it comes to layouts, the club has both British and European settings on show and some that may just ring a few bells with visitors.
Members have been keen to represent the railway heritage of the north-east and this has been captured in the Shildon OO and Magdalene Lane layouts. The former is a representation of modern day Shildon depicting normal working life outside the north-east museum and is also based on the history of Shildon Station. Magdalene Lane takes people back through time depicting 1930s goods traffic into Durham.
Elsewhere in the exhibition will be the setting from a 1920s Yorkshire seaside scene complete with trams, while Leeds Weeklyn Hill is a fictitious layout near to the West Yorkshire area. It focuses on various locomotives from the Eastern and Midland Region of early British Rail. In total, there will be 16 layouts on display with varying gauge sizes to suit every enthusiasts' specific taste.
Alongside the layouts there will be a number of traders in attendance to give their expert advice on how to get the best out of a model railway collection. Among the names already confirmed are Unique Models, John Owens, Tims Trains, Bishop Trains, The Junctionbox and Red Box Toys along with many, many more.
Other groups will also be attending so visitors can have a chat with various members and even sign up if they are interested in building working layouts. The likes of Friends of the National Railways Museum, Mike Fishwick and Steven Bainbridge have already been confirmed for the event.
The show open on Saturday (June 7th) at 10:00 BST and will close at 17:00 BST on both days. Admission and parking are both free.