On balance, I think this was a better all-round exhibition than Warley. The reason I say that is that while there were less layouts (only about a third the number there were at Warley), they were pretty much all of a consistently high standard. No train sets here! Also there seemed to be a lower ratio of weirdos to 'normal' people than at Warley!!
Unfortunately it was a bit of a whistle-stop visit so I didn't really have time to stop and watch the action on any of the layouts for long, but there was still planty of inspiration.
Here are a few of my favourites. (To see more photos, click on the images below and go to my Flickr gallery).
Oldshaw is a small EM guage layout set in the 70's/early 80's built by Andrew Bartlett. I really like the attention to detail and the colours - very realistic in my opinion, without being overdone in any way. For a small layout (8' x 18") there's still plenty of interest. The canal is a particularly nice and well modelled feature.
Hoath Hill Halt is a 3mm layout built by Peter Bossom. Set in East Sussex it depicts a rail-served factory complex adjacent to a single-track line with a small halt. Another small layout, again, the detail and colour is very good, and it has loads of atmosphere - something that's very difficult to pin down on a layout, but when it's there you really do notice it.
Cement Quay is one of Chris Nevard's miniature masterpieces. With the scenic area fitting into a space just 5’6” x 2’00” it's incredibly small but perfectly formed. Once again - fantastic detail and use of colour to create a convincing overall scene. The layout is 00 gauge and uses Peco Code 75 'finescale' track which, with some careful painting and weathering, looks remarkably convincing - this coming from someone who is usually pretty critical about track appearance!
Aldbury Town is a minimum-space P4 layout built by Mike Gosling. At only about 5' long with just 2 tournouts it's a really good example of what you can do with not a lot of space. I think this is becoming a theme!
Of course, the big layouts have their appeal too, and one that does just that is Wibdenshaw, an EM gauge 1970's era layout built by Kier Hardy. Actually, having been firmly in the steam camp until now, seeing so many blue diesel era layouts (a particular feature of this year's Railex) I'm beginning to come round to the idea myself, particularly in the urban setting - shock horror!