Stafford Model Railway Exhibition 2018.

The Stafford Railway Circle were kind enough to invite us to take Priorsfield to their 2018 exhibition so off we went. A two day show with set up on the Friday afternoon meant 3 days away from home and a 300 mile round trip. But we were all looking forward to it, even when we were stuck in a huge traffic jam on the M40 at Warrick services on the way up there. But with all afternoon and evening on the Friday in which to set up it wasn't a problem.
We eventually arrived and saw what a big show this is. We were stand 100 of about 110 in three huge halls with plenty of space. Access was easy and we were able to drive our car into the hall and unload right next to the stand which was perfect. In no time at all we were set up and then we made our way to our overnight accommodation in the Premier Inn just down the road.
Despite horrible weather on the Saturday (rain, sleet, snow) there was a large crowd and we had a lot of interest in our layout. The weather on the Sunday was much better and again there was a large crowd of visitors. The show had an excellent selection of both large and small layouts and well worth making the trip to see.
Sunday evening packing up was easy and we were away at about 6pm, a spot of dinner on the way home and we got home safely at around 9:30. All in all a very good weekend and it was nice to take a layout 'up north' for a change.
Many thanks to the Stafford Railway Circle for inviting us and looking after us so well. Your arrangements were faultless and we enjoyed the show very much.

Astolat 2018 Exhibition, Surrey Sports Park, Guildford.

Our annual exhibition was once again held at the Surrey Sports Park and was another great success. As last year our hosts were very helpful and provided us with everything we needed to put on a good show. Despite the wet weather we were all in and ready in plenty of time for the show opening at 10:00am.
A goodly crowd braved the rain and flowed in through the doors and the hall was nicely filled throughout most of the day, only tailing off late in the afternoon.
One lucky family with two young children who were enthusiastic about all things train were chosen at random and recieved a Hornby Junior Train Set, kindly donated by Hornby Railways. They went away very happy indeed.
Another award that was made during the day was our coveted Best in Show award which this year went to Schwungischer Platz, (No, I don't know how to pronouce it either!) a very fine German N gauge layout.
Brian, our resident Loco Doctor, was again kept busy all day fixing locos brought in by members of the public. Our free Historic bus service to and from the station again proved popular and our driver Richard Kirwin did sterling service ferrying them back and forth throughout the day. By 5pm, when the doors closed we had all had a good day.
Many thanks to the Surrey Sports Park for allowing us the use of their facitlies and also to all the club members and helpers who helped to make it a successful day. And also thanks to the many hundreds of enthusiastic visitors who braved the weather to come and see our show.

2017 Open Day, Dapdune Wharf NT, Guildford.

Thanks to excellent weather and good advertising we had a bumper crowd of visitors to our annual Open Day. There was plenty for then to see as not only did we have several club members' layouts on show but we also had out the front boards of our Savernake OO layout which is under construction. The canal was in operation drawing fascination from kids and adults alike.
Our second hand stall did well as did our Loco Doctor who was kept busy fixing locos brought in by visitors.
In the evening, after the public had gone, we held our Bar-B-Que with freshhly cooked burgers and sausages for everyone who had helped out and a few invited guests. Since it was the 50th anniversary of the formation of the club we also had a cake in the shape of the Maid of Astolat locomotive made by Nightingale Cakes of Reading. This went down very well with a glass of champagne.
Many thanks to the National Trust at Dapdun Wharf for allowing us to hold this event again also to Nightingale Cakes for the delicious cake.

GMES 50th Steam Rally, Guildford.

As we do nearly every year, we were showing one of our layouts (this year it was Whitmoor) at the Guilford Model Engineering Society's 50th Steam Rally at their site in Stoke Park, Guildford. The weather Gods again smiled on us as it was a nice warn and sunny weekend. Whitmoor is now complete (if any layout is actually ever complete) and got a lot of kind remarks during the show.
The show was well attended with a lot of families in evidence on the Sunday in particular. The Mayor turned up on the Sunday morning to present trohpies and I am very please to say that GMES presented us with the Brian Barrow Trophy. This is awarded to people who have shown great support to GMES over the years and it is the first time they have awarded it to a group rather than individuals. We feel very honoured to recieve it and many thanks to the GMES. We will be proudly displaying it at our Open Day on 19th August.
Many thanks to the GMES for inviting us to the event, it was great fun.

Puffing-A-Wey Festival, Dapdune Wharf, Guildford.

We were again invited by the National Trust at Dapdune Wharf to show our Priorsfield layout, which since it depicts a river and canal lock is in keeping with the river steam theme of the Puffing-A-Wey Festival they hold. It really is a fun day with all sorts of steam powered boats on the river and attractions on the wharf. The Barge Shed where we are is situated right on the river edge and we had the whole of it for our use. So we set out Priorsfield, our test track (for kids to play trains with) and also the front boards of our Savernake OO layout that is under construction. This drew a lot of interest from people and I was able to demostrate the model canal sections on it that have a narrow boat which will travel up and down the canal.
All in all it was an excellent day both for us and for the National Trust who had a great many visitors.
Many thanks to the National Turst for asking us to take part.