Nearly 3 hours for a toy train show?
Pulling up in the car park, it was slightly tempting to enjoy the sunshine by wandering around the city but no, there was chatting to be done so it was in to the racecourse.
10:30 on a Sunday and there was hardly any queue. Nearly as big a surprise as being served by BRM's Tony Wright doing a stint in the booth!
First stop of course was upstairs for a cup of tea and cake. Tea was good but the choccie cake was sadly a bit too stodgy so I only managed half a slice.
Never mind, working down the show from the top floor, we were almost immediately presented with my favourite layout of the day - Canada Street.
An L-shaped dockside layout is obviously going to appeal to my industrial railway sensibilities. The quality of modelling was top notch, as was the selection of buildings. Nice to see a really large concrete structure - so common on real docks but often ignored by modellers in favour of easier to built and more traditional brick buildings.
My other favourite was Troutbeck Bridge. While not exactly unusual - a passing station in OO - the clever bit is that along with the Peco track, most of the buildings are recognisable kits and resin models BUT the overall effect is superb as everything has been used to its best advantage. A case of the builder adding 2 + 2 but getting 6.
Even more clever - by replacing buildings and rolling stock, the layout can be seen in 6 different guises!
To be fair, this was one of the best York's for years. All the layout were high quality and the trade as good as ever. My shopping list was mostly completed although OO 12mm wheels seem in short supply at the moment while await another run from Markits.
Lunch was a really delicious lasagna washed down with orange juice for heath. After this, my day involved talking to as many people as possible including the inimitable Kit "Mr Tilt" Spackman who was manning one end of the Locomotion stand where you could see the first painted shots of the APT-E along with some original headphones and log book from the real test train.
It's still funny talking to Kit about the APT-E. For him it was just a job but to those of us who grew up looking at the set in Ladybird books, it was The Future.
Talking of the future, on the DEMU stand there was a little slice of this with the best quality 3D print I've ever seen.
Someone else will have to score nerd points by identifying the prototype but look at the detailing. More to the point, look at the smoothness. For once a print that doesn't look like it's made from sand. To produce it, all you need is an £80,000 printer, or at least a friend with one. Oh, and a bucket load of CAD skills...
If more traditional skills are your sort of thing, and they are mine, the chat I had with Dave Walker about pantograph milling will have appealed more.
Dave has been using the technique a lot and produced a G3 loco from G1 masters in a way he described as reasonably easy. I'm interested milling like this, you make a twice life size plasticard master and then using the machine copy it on to brass. In 20 minutes I learned an awful lot and really want to see the miller we have in our clubrooms refurbished so I can give it a go. The concept is really simple and I even have a prototype in mind to try it out on.
Anyway, was the three hour trip worth it?
Yes it was. Sunday is a nice day to visit as the crowds are lower than Saturday and that meant I could chat to everyone I needed to. To be honest, I could have done with 2 days as I didn't give the layouts as much attention as I would have liked. I also wished I'd been more thorough with my shopping list as by Tuesday, I'd found at least half-a-dozen items that should have been on it.
Maybe next year.
Lots more York photos on Flickr