I'm sure this show has changed. Last year it was called the Large Scale Model Rail Show and now it's the Midlands Garden Rail Show with the subtitle "Large Scale Model Rail Show" - a bit like my book is "Seeds of Change" with the more entertaining but less chick-lit subtitle "The DirtBoffins Revenge". Like the book, I suspect this is to reposition the event in response to the larger, but one day, 16mm Scale AGM held in a few weeks time. It's also a lot more Google-friendly for people who build their train sets outdoors.
This isn't the only change. First, the ticket price has dropped from £8.50 to £6. I'd noted in previous years that this had seemed high for the event in the hall and so the new price is a very welcome thing. If I normally qualified for a concession I'm not so sure I'd have been pleased - there were no concessions this year. Judging by the age profile of the visitors I suspect this made the overall income about the same as before.
It must have made for interesting times on the box-office too. Working in a local cinema, even when we have bargain nights (everyone is £4), the numbers who demand a reduction for simply not having died for longer than most of us is amusing, especially when they are slightly offended when we point out that this is the concession price, it's just that everyone gets to pay it. I often ponder if thay demand the same at Tesco - if cinema entry should be cheaper, then so should cans of beans. After all, in both cases, they consume the same amount of product as anyone else does...
Anyway, once you'd paid to get in things improved further. Gone were the shell-scheme trade stands. Instead the venue was open-plan like any other event, and bigger. I haven't counted but there were definitely more traders in place. I spotted several new boys who tempted money from my wallet including several book stalls and one new kit manufacturer. If you wanted a shopping experience, this was an awful lot better than previous shows.
Layout wise, well Newchapel Junction wasn't in the same spot as always but it was still there. I still like the model but every year ?
Other than that I liked Barton Ings Pipe and Tile Works in Gn15. Very nice scenery although a little lacking in operation interest. I'd love to built it though !
So, in summary - this is a hugely improved show and I'm looking forward to next year.
As always, more pictures on Flickr.