FAMILIES and railway enthusiasts filled STEAM on Saturday to see the Modrail exhibition.

Model railway clubs from across Wiltshire and a few independent hobbyists set up 18 of their biggest and best models to show off to visitors and explain the painstaking effort it took to create them.

The exhibition was organised by the Swindon Model Railway Club.

Exhibition manager Ian Burbidge said: “It's a broad church of interests here.

"The railways people make can be as individualistic as the person building them, that's the beauty of this hobby.

"It involves a variety of different skills - woodworking, electrical work, painting, research and, most importantly, observation to get all the details right.

"The layouts can be whimsical or they can be based on real areas, there are models here based on North America, London, the Cotswolds, and Japan.

"Railway clubs are the best places to learn new ways of doing things, it's a very sharing hobby and there's something in it for everybody."

John Thomas built much of his layout by hand, which took two years of soldering and careful crafting.

He said: "I like making the scenery and making the buildings more than running the locomotives, though other people focus more on the trains, it depends on your interests."

Doug Banks from the West Wiltshire Model Railway Club filled his realistic train station set with tiny handmade figures like an astronaut, people travelling in Star Wars costumes to a sci-fi convention, and Michael Portillo to add some character and humour to the model.

He said: "It's all about creativity, being inventive and putting your own stamp on what you're making.

"Anyone can buy the same pre-made kits but what you do with them and add to them is what makes it fun."

For more information about the club, visit swindonmodelrailwayclub.com