There are ten shows booked for this year, so will again try to record what transpires.
St Albans went pretty well two weeks ago, with those lovely photos from Tony Wright. These have generated an invite to do an article for British Railway Modelling. Since then invite to Manchester in December has been accepted, but Eurospoor in Holland will have to wait for another year, as it is just before Cultra.
Pontefract was a good weekend, though a long way to drive on my own - particularly coming home last night after a full day's operating. Will have to take an extra night for long distance shows in future, methinks. Pontefract Club helped out with an operator on Saturday, while 'Mike84C' came over on Sunday. An ex railwayman, he proved to be both an excellent operator and very good company, so many thanks Mick!
As shown elsewhere, the layout got the 'Best in Show' award & a very fine trophy it is too. Sadly, had to leave it with the Club, but do have a small plaque now on the layout.
Overall, things went fairly well, though I broke the golden rule of 'if it works, don't fix it'.
Small tank Fermanagh has always had a wobbly driving wheel. Ran ok, but felt I ought to address the problem. At first, couldn't get the wheel nut off, but eventually ground out a slot and used a screwdriver. The solution was a new axle. So, once fitted, cleaned the wheels and boxed up the loco for the show. On the Saturday, it barely ran. No time to look at it until the evening, but soon found a pickup wasn't touching & on Sunday it ran well with the new SLNCR coaches & parcels van.
Same thing with the railcar. Fitted a retaining nut on the draw bar for its trailer, but it fouled the boarding on the points, so had to go! Fine after...
Had checked all the back to backs on the wagons, but limited clearances on the cattle wagons caused rubbing on the back of the axle boxes & Hazlewood slipped to a standstill with them. BtoBs narrowed a bit, though haulage remains a bit marginal, so will have to do some more testing.
Other minor issues included Lark losing its front coupling and Sir Henry buffer locking with brake van 5 on the mixed train. Sod's Law [or should it be Murphy's?] says than no matter how much you test and practice at home, gremlins will catch you out in front of the public and I'm afraid that I have a thing about operation being as near to perfect as possible for folk who are paying good money to visit.
Anyway, things did indeed go pretty well on the Sunday & it can often be the case that the second day of a show is better - something to do with the layout settling into a new atmosphere I think. Hope it doesn't apply to Cultra...
The only problem with Sunday was packing up to go home. Or more to the point, the exit from the hall was via a quagmire and it was raining. Still, everything now back in my workshop & the layout seems ok, while the car has been washed & vacuumed clean too.
Next show is St Neots, actually at the Wood Green Animal Centre near Huntingdon, followed by Alexandra Palace the weekend after. Just as well I don't work much these days!