Before writing this entry I looked back at what I said last year. In a nutshell it was that while I enjoyed the show, the entry price was high and the trade on the light side.
This year the entrance was up another 50p to £8.50 and despite an impressive looking list of traders, those looking to spend money might have felt things were still looking a bit empty. In fact the layout of the hall divides nicely into two halves and in the back one, there were only a couple of sales stands.
Now don't get me wrong, going to model railway exhibition isn't all about buying stuff. You could argue that a rise in ticket price commensurate with a decrease in traders is a good thing if they are replaced by displays. The numbers of those did appear to have increased. Access to all of them was good and the aisles were wide enough to walk around in comfort, at least on Saturday afternoon.
Mind you, one idiot wearing his rucksack on one strap did manage to swipe my Dad a couple of times with it - not helped by wearing the wrong side strap so the bag stuck out as far as possible. Why is it so difficult for people to use these handy bags ? I simply (ready for this ?) take it off and carry it by the top handle when in a crowded area. If you must wear the thing at all times, just remember you are now twice as wide and no one will get hurt.
The other problem is that in the larger scales, a lot of the layouts are little more than test tracks. That's fine for watching trains rush by but you do see the sames ones every time. I love a Garrat locomotive but I have seen Tarrag shed many, many times now. Worse, Newchapel Junction seems to be in the same spot every year. Much as I love this layout, enough to want to see it at our show, a break would be a good thing as it looks like the organisers simply aren't looking for new models.
Still, if you like spending time watching live steam models do their thing, this is still a good show and I'll troop through the door next year.