Saturday, September 12, 2015
Bachmann Collectors Club members day 2015
In my capacity as MREmag editor, I occasionally find myself invited to events. Not often, which is why it seems only polite to go when I do. Last Saturday, it was the Bachmann Collectors Club members day at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway.
Despite being only 35 miles away from where I live, I'd never been to the line. Lack of a mainline railway connection means it's a drive or nothing and I never seemed to get around to the drive - until the invite arrived in the post.
We had been promised that in addition to a day on the railway, there would be an announcement of new products and a display of the latest samples of those under development. Around half eleven we gentlemen of the press were handed an A4 sized envelope and sternly instructed not to tell anyone about the contents before the embargo expired at midday. A couple of my readers asked what was in there but I always adhere to press embargoes and even if I didn't, I wasn't about to let slip anything with the Bachmann press team hovering!
To entertain us before the announcement, we were treated to a tour of the engine shed and ride on the narrow gauge railway. After this everyone was served with a bag containing a sandwich (ham or cheese), bag of crisps, KitKat and apple. Three of us then hopped in a car to head to Winchcombe station to get a look at the samples before the crowds arrived.
This isn't us being snobbish, it's just more practical to take stuff out of cabinets for photos when the room isn't full of people wanting a proper look. As it was, we forfeited a ride on the train to do this - such are the hardships we endure!
Winchcombe is home to the carriage and wagon restoration works and part of the day was tour of these. Housed in the only building BR left standing on the line when it was handed over to the enthusiasts, the facilities are impressive and fascinating.
Starting with the upholstery shop we were shown how the seats are repaired and made good for service. Moquette has to be bought 450 metre at at a time and isn't cheap, but it is both hard wearing and correct for the vehicles being restored. One problem is that it comes in a wide range of colours which is difficult when buying in such quantity.
Next it was off to the carpenters to see door restoration and then the paint shop. A separate facility for this is a luxury the volunteers really appreciate as it keeps the mucky work of chopping metal and wood away from their fine finishes. A demo of plasma cutting proved the point, as did the dirty grey walls in the body shop vs the gleaming white ones for the painters.
After this there time for some Victoria sponge and tea on the station platform before driving back to Toddington.
Chatting to the members present, everyone had a superb day. The collectors club puts this on for members as part of their subscription. Combined with an excellent magazine, you see why their club is growing.
An excellent day, thanks to the BCC and GWR for their efforts.