Needing to get out and about to see more of the garden railway world, I spotted that the Butterley Garden Railway Association were hosting an open day. Nice location on the Midland Railway and a bit of a run, but it sounded nice and I like small events as much as the big ones. You get more chance to chat and in this case, there would plenty of other things to look at.
The BGRA have a large, permanent track with both 32 and 45mm gauges in the station yard, a short stroll from the end of the platform. On the way, we passed the Star Tug exhibition I mentioned yesterday. There's also a hut with OO and O gauge model railways.
Being an open day, there was a little trade with a second-hand stall, where I probably should have bout an RC Playmobil loco, and a plant seller, some of who's goodies were stashed in the boot of my car later in the day. Moving inside another hut, John Sutton Books had a huge selection of pre-owned live steam locos as well as books.
On one side of the room was a display of models from the cheaper (i.e. my) end of the garden rail hobby. Lots of IP Engineering kits. I was encouraged to have a go at building the mine tub made in laser-cut MDF from a guy who appears on eBay under the moniker vwmonkeyblue. Price for these is £7.50 each and construction takes less than 5 minutes. It even holds itself together without glue!
Back outside, I photographed some trains, I'm going to need the practice after all, and chatted to the secretary of the 16mm Association about various things. He was encouraging youngsters to drive a "Toby" by radio control. They seemed to take to this rather well.
The line is waist level and has two separate loops to offer a decent length of run. There is scenery and some nice looking planting but mostly this is all about operating your locos in a pleasant space. Being higher, there's no grubbing around in the dirt and it's easier to see for most members of the public. A fence keeps the crowds away from hot and valuable locos.
Around the yard, I took some pics of DMUs under repair and very interesting (to me, I know I'm weird) piles of spares and general bits. After this, there was a walk back to the station to find ham and cheese cobs followed by triangular scone and jam. Finish up with a trip to another model railway and I'd enjoyed a very pleasant few hours entertainment.