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  PHOTO GALLERY GROUP 42
 
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James May's Toy Stories. These photographs continue the series started in Group 41, which records the attempt in North Devon by James May and his team to create a new record for the world's longest model railway.

Above: Charlie from Plum Pictures powers the second rickshaw out on to the Tarka Trail. He doesn't look so happy as in the previous picture, possibly because this time he has two passengers – the cameraman and the sound engineer. They are setting off in pursuit of the first model train, seen earlier, which has just started its run from Barnstaple. Due to the construction of a new road bridge just north of Barnstaple station, the modern cycle trail takes a rather circuitous route before joining the former trackbed to Bideford. 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)

 
Left: The model track approaching Bideford station. The metre lengths provided by Hornby were very flexible, as can be seen here. At the Barnstaple end, volunteers used a metre length of batten to straighten the line, but unfortunately it seems that no one at Bideford thought to do this. As it turned out, the model trains never got this far anyway. 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Right: The Southern Railway's concrete milepost at the north end of Bideford's down platform still remains in place. As can be seen, the gradient in the main part of the station was negligible at 1 in 1,820. Unfortunately, the railway bridge in the middle of the station has been raised since final closure in 1982 to provide more headroom for road traffic. The modern cycle trail can negotiate the resultant hump with ease, but of course this will cause more serious problems if in time a real railway is ever restored here. 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: At Bideford, a fine model of the town's station in the 1950s was on display, complete with an unrebuilt West Country Pacific in the up platform. The bridge in the middle of the station can be seen clearly. 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: A close-up of the above model. The Royal Hotel, with its classically styled entrance on to the station, is on the right. The station is situated in a part of Bideford known as East-the-Water, for reasons which will be obvious from this view. The river here is the Torridge. During the season, boats for Lundy Island – in the Bristol Channel – depart more or less daily from the west bank. 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Bideford Youth Pipe Band, seen here, and the town's mayor were told to expect the first model train to arrive at about 4:30 p.m. The planned ceremonies were performed despite the model train's non-arrival. As it turned out, the trains achieved nothing like the estimated 2 m.p.h. due to a mixture of technical difficulties and vandalism, the latter referred to elsewhere. The model that ran furthest actually managed 1 m.p.h., which made the 4:30 p.m. arrival time hopelessly optimistic. The pipe band were extremely good, although it did seem incongruous hearing a sound in North Devon that is traditionally associated with the Scottish Highlands! 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: A general view of Bideford station, showing the relaid track, the replica signal box, and the Mark I carriage which serves refreshments. The model trains were due to arrive at the north end of the station, immediately beyond the carriage. 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Bideford station, although now shorn of its canopies, has been very well restored, with lots of small details such as these milk churns which help to recreate the atmosphere of a Southern Railway outpost in years gone by. Unfortunately, someone needs to remove the ivy and bindweed from the churns in order to make the impression more convincing! 24th August 2009. (Jeff Vinter)