Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wake me up!

After a trip up to Durham this Friday to see Claire's grandma, we called on Wakefield and the model railway show... The 45th annual Wakefield show none the less.

So, after the poor turnout at Wirksworth, was this any better?

Oh yes!

Firstly, the traders were first rate: squires, eileen's emporium, langley, Bill Hudson books, totally trains (of Ross on Wye) etc etc Very good turn out for a relatively 'small' show. The refreshments were excellent and certainly much better than we experienced at York recently (the sandwiches had run out at 12:30!). No such issues here, decent hot and cold snacks/meals and a good selection of drinks/crisps etc.

What about the layouts then? Well, these were pretty good too, excusing the odd bit of shocking green grass, misaligned bridges etc. From the classic layouts that have done the rounds before - Ashbourne Midland, Narrow Road etc. to the newly exhibited DCC layouts, the range was good.

Any narrow gauge... I here you ask...? Well, there were the following:

- "Pity me", a 30 year old 009 freelance layout that had a variety of Vale of Rheidol, Leek and Manifold, Ffestiniog, Talyllyn and Snowdon Mountain (motorised 'Thomas' plastic engines) stock. A bit of a rabbit warren, but not too bad, and considering its age, it was pretty good. The Leek and Manifold coaches were particularly good 7/10, but 8/10 when the L+M stock was running.

- "Blakecaster" - A decent, if slightly over detailed 7mm narrow gauge layout. The Virtual NG exhibition describes it as :

"Serving a large country estate and village of Blakecaster that is isolated from the outside world by the infamous Patchway Bog, Blakecaster has no road connection to the outside world and the only connection is by the narrow gauge railway which was laid across a narrow ridge across the bog. The period modelled is the late 1960's when steam is rapidly disappearing from British railways and even on the narrow gauge, diesels are beginning to appear."

There was a huge amount of detail and to be honest, this did actually take away from the railway, which is a shame. 8/10

- "Ilfracombe East" - a 009 layout (again quite old) modelling a fictitious branch off the Lynton and Barnstaple to Ilfracombe. This had some lovely stock, but was marred by some shocking scenery that looked like someone had poured fluorescent green paint all over the fields. Suffice to say, there were layouts nearby that put its scenics in the shade big style. 6/10

- "Ouzel Thorn" - On 2 1/4 - a superb little narrow gauge layout based on a fictitious location in Lancashire. Just superb, great stock, excellent scenics and the only adverse comment I have is the lack of check rails on the bridges. Else super, 9/10 and the narrow gauge winner for me!

Other narrow gauge exhibits included a demonstrator who had a lovely selection of 009 stock ad 7mm models of Moel Tryfan and Linda.

A grand day out was had by all!

(pictures to follow later in the week)


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