Sunday, 23 April 2017

Epsom Exhibition

Setting up on for the exhibition, on the Friday evening, presented a few unforeseen difficulties.

We met as arranged at 4pm, to beat the worst of the Friday afternoon traffic. The Exhibition venue was officially inaccessible until 5pm (still in use), so we wandered around outside trying to assess the best entry route.

After a while a few cars were allowed through the gates into the car park adjacent to the hall. Leaving the cars outside, we ventured closer on foot, trying to agree which way up the map should go. The hall wasn't yet marked out, but we discovered which distant corner we had been allocated. We located the nearest entry, then Keith and Pete K went back for their cars, which each contained half of the layout.

Assembly went smoothly, then came the testing, using Keith's Association 08. Despite Keith having taken home the trackbed, and cleaned and overhauled the points, gremlins were found to infest two separate points. A prolonged poking session eventually dislodged them and they appear to have then taken up residence in Nigel Cliffe's P4 layout, Coldfair Green, on the far side of the main hall.

In the meantime, Paula had set up the 2FS RoadShow in the adjacent spot, and foolishly entrusted it to us while she went off for a weekend in Dorset.

 We managed to negotiate our exit through the high security gates, and returned again early on Saturday morning for a track cleaning session, followed by assembly of the backscene. A few of the finishing touches, like information sheets, had been overlooked, and didn't arrive until Sunday. But we were (mostly) ready for the arrival of spectators at 10 o'clock.

Saturday was a busy day, the layout usually being surrounded by a significant crowd. Unfortunately that didn't extend to the adjacent Roadshow, where sales remained at zero - though there were a few visitors (mostly existing members).

We had a minor scenery repair session at the beginning of Sunday - Pete K glued back an awning that had become dislodged, and I reattached loose reins on the brewers' dray and repainted some broken ridge tiling on one of the houses.

Sunday morning was much quieter. Perhaps prospective visitors were still running the London Marathon, or just enjoying a lie-in.

Sunday afternoon brought more traffic. Lots of families, and we challenged some of the children to find cats/dogs/pigeons on the layout - the pigeons usually eluding them.

As can be seen, we were off the main hall, not perhaps in the most accessible location, which made the substantial (and usually highly appreciative) crowds of spectators a pleasant surprise.

Five o'clock on Sunday - a whistle was blown, and the show closed to visitors. Dismantling of the layout was impressively fast, and within half an hour it was ready for loading up. Next stop Bournmoor, in another month, for the 2mm Supermeet.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Preparing for next Exhibition - Epsom

Assembly of the layout revealed a couple of minor changes to optimum order - namely don't tighten the screws holding down the trackbed until the adjacent scenic boards are all in position

Pete K fixed the broken water crane.

Keith opened up the control panel and added a couple of connectors for the new MERG controllers.

Unfortunately when they were tested, the point motors were all dead, so he had to open it up again, and persuade that connector back into position too.

Work in progress from Alan S - 1 in 7 diamond crossing, using the new Easitrac points system.

Keith added a solid end to the fiddle yard, for security.

Seen from the operator side.

Extended testing of the trackwork revealed one problem area, probably poor contact from the point microswitch. Track taken home by Keith for some more remedial work.

Scene in the fiddleyard after a brief "banking" trial, where a second jinty had pushed the outgoing train from the rear, then dropped away (the DG coupling at the rear of the brake van being temporarily disabled). It also served as a quick check of fiddleyard capacity - 13 wagons, plus brake van, plus small loco (all the readily available stock). This probably needs cutting to about 10 wagons plus brake van plus large loco to allow the traverser to traverse...

The various layout components were split between the cars of Keith and Pete K, for transport to the Exhibition in a couple of weeks.

Spectators welcome - Epsom, April 22 and 23. Apparently we are staffing the 2FS Roadshow there too, so it should keep us fairly busy.