Saturday, February 13, 2016
First class! I travelled first class to Stafford.
Well, from Birmingham New Street anyway. Thanks to bumping in to someone I knew on the station. His pass got us into the coach, although the only seats left were single coach style ones so I spent the journey sitting at right angles so we could chat. Never mind, the vintage bus awaited us so we could escape from the rain.
At the show, I quickly started work on my shopping list. Well, I tried but the list was short and I got side-tracked. There's at least one unexpected kit in the bag. Several new traders were present, replacing others who dropped out. Id' say the range was as good as you'll find at any exhibition. Plenty of kits and not too many box-shifter RTR merchants.
The second hand still is worth a look too although the pack of Triang Modeland buildings at £110 would only tempt the serious collector even though they weren't stupidly priced. I nearly went for a Hornby station announcer unit but decided I ought be sensible...
Layouts were excellent as always. My favourite was Vopak Barry Docks, a superbly observed modern scene. Not just an excuse to run some diesels, all the detail you'd expect - signs, barriers etc. was present. The builder visits the site regularly for work and gets plenty of photos from the comfort of a 7 1/2 ton truck!
I noticed an awful lot of DCC going on this year. NCE Powercab controllers seem to be the device of choice with many operators staring at the mass of buttons and some actually knowing what to do with them. Plenty of sound equipped diesels were rumbling around but in most cases, adding noise isn't an excuse not to do any actual modelling.
Talking of sound, chatting to a friend with his layout, it seems that some layouts are notorious. We have both encountered one where the volume is far too loud and the operators refuse to turn it down, or at least claim this isn't possible.
Arriving before the doors opened, I took advantage of the excellent cafe on the site for a quick sausage roll. Later on, more tea and a slice of cheesecake kept me going. Both the cafe and the show itself were busy although a couple of people suggested it was slightly quieter than normal. I suspect the heavy rain put people off for a while and I certainly picked the best way to getting there. No trudge across the showground from a car parked to avoid the normal grass parking. A vintage bus is far more fun, even if the windows are so steamed up you can't see out.
Despite the weather, a trip well worth making again. Have a look at my photos on Flickr.