19 May 2017
This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Alresford Festival of Toy Trains. Launched in 1993 after organiser Bob Leggett saw James Day and Chris March’s superb Tri-ang Super 4 layout at a small show on the South Coast, the event has gone from strength to strength - raising vast amounts of money for local charities along the way!
At the time Bob was looking for ways to raise money for Children’s Playground in Alresford (APES) where he lived and the idea of running a toy train show was born.
Using James’s knowledge of exhibitors and a few traders from local swapmeets the first show took place at the Alresford Community Centre. It was so crowded that one layout from the local Alton Model Railway Club could not fit in and had to be left out, while one trader was even on the first floor corridor.
The show was a great success and raised over £300 for the charity. Over the next few years the show completed its fundraising for APES and by 1999 was solely organised by Bob who continued to raise money for groups who helped at the show. In 2000 the bold step was taken to move to Perins School and have two large halls, using the local Scouts to organise refreshments and parking and the local branch of Save the Children to man the doors.
With over 20 vintage layouts, 90 sales tables and regular live music the show began to establish itself as one of the most popular events on the toy train calendar. Today the show continues to offer a variety of 20 vintage layouts and over 90 sales tables.
This year’s show is on Saturday 17 June from 10.30am-4.30pm, with early entry from 9am. The Watercress Line is a short walk away so visitors can take the train from Alton to the show.