Saturday, 29 October 2011

Exhibiting Myself

Well it has certainly been a long day. The traffic was kind and we arrived at the EXPO-NG venue a little before 8am, which gave plenty of time to unload and set up. This went smoothly too, and both layouts were set up and being tested by soon after 9am. This left me a little time for a quick look around the show. A big thanks to Simon Wilson and Mark Holland for helping out with operating, set-up and packing up, we rotated between the layouts and breaks which certainly kept boredom at bay!

Simon Wilson mastering the controls of Awngate just before the show opened
Awngate attracted a lot of positive comments, which is nice to hear, and some potential show invites too. The preparation of the locos paid off as the layout ran very well all day, with the only track-cleaning before the show opened. The fiddle yard improvements were worthwhile too. However the couplings were temperamental, with some items of stock refusing to uncouple and some magnets less effective than others, so shunting the goods was a brave move! The passenger trains ran more smoothly though.

Landswood Park set up and ready to operate

Landswood Park behaved well too, with the couplings working as intended about 95% of the time (remember both layouts use the same couplings!), perhaps better magnets? However with only one loco it was guaranteed to cause problems, which it did about half an hour into the show when it refused to go. Having checked the track power I stripped down the loco chassis and fettled the pickups, which seemed to cure the problem and apart from the occasional relapse requiring a poke, it ran fine the rest of the day. The other problem was that a point blade came loose, fortunately it was the "kick-back" to the workshop which I never use, so it could be ignored. Despite the size of the layout, the "inglenook" plan and the easy-shunting made it a pleasant and surprisingly engaging to operate.

This layout generated a lot of interest too, I'd say it provoked more conversations than did Awngate, perhaps because of it's unusual theme and relatively uncommon gauge. There was a good turnout for the box file competition with 11 entries making it, most of which were complete, and showing a good standard of modelling. So I was honoured to be awarded first prize!
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Phil Parker said...

Congratulations on your win - the layout deserves it though, it's very nice model.

Christian said...

Nice on Michael - it looked cracking the in the flesh at the weekend, and a well-deserved winner. You had some great competition though, I also particularly enjoyed Little Hope Mine with the tiny orange loco on a Kato bogie.