Great Central Model Event

Things are just about returning to normality here after a brilliant if exhausting 3 days spent in the company of Mark Tatlow and his P4 layout Portchullin.

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Although we spent much time operating the layout, which captures perfectly the atmosphere of a small passing station on the Kyle line in 1974, enough operators were on hand to allow decent length breaks giving us the opportunity to explore the rest of the show, which took time given it was spread from Leicester North to Loughborough!

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Although we did not get a chance to visit the stands at Rothley and Leicester, Loughborough got a visit where there were a couple of small layouts on display in the waiting rooms, along with a small marquee on the platform housing an LGB and live steam display, which seemed to be going down well with the families. However, as with other shows that feature stands in waiting rooms, the layouts in here seemed a bit cut off and easy to miss, which I guess is down to the design of Victorian waiting rooms!

The main event took place in two huge marquees at Quorn, and showed the confidence the railway had put in this event, needing to draw a serious number of visitors to cover the hire costs of these. Although exceptionally warm and humid inside, they were of a very high standard and far better than those used at Chatham years ago when the show left the old ropery building.

Layout of the show for me went to Roundtree Sidings, a very well observed EM layout set in the North East, featuring Tyne and Wear Metro operations alongside BR prototypes set in the mid 1980’s. If it were mine it would be dirtier, but that would cover some of the great detailing on the permanent way!

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So yes, on the whole a very good show, especially given it is the first one hosted, some more specialised trade would be welcomed for future events, and possibly a couple more finescale layouts to replace a few less fine ones, but otherwise the GCR and Soar Valley Club are off to a cracking start!

Aside from the show, a good time was had by all exploring Loughborough and it’s curry houses, although two curries in two evenings may have been a bit excessive! Much laughter was generated on Saturday evening due to some unfortunate spelling errors on the menu, leading to some entertaining meal choices, and ‘Mongoose’, a third beer option in a curry house never seen before was discovered. Apologies to any observers of the layout on Sunday, apparently hitting the pillows at 02.30 the night before can lead to a greater than average number of mistakes being made by the operators!

Thanks to Mark for the opportunity to play with his train set all weekend, maybe not for the round of Jagerbombs on Friday night! More details of his layouts can be found on his Highland Miscellany blog linked from this website.

Chris.

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