Saturday, 15 September 2012

Model Trains at Fleetwood

Today I took myself off to Fleetwood High School to see an exhibition of model trains.

I never put so much effort into model trains myself. I was happy if I could set up a track and got one end to meet the other so a train could go round it instead of all this fiddle yard nonsense where you send a train from one end to the other and then send a different one back...

But if I'm totally honest, I never bothered much with scenery either... The front of the sofa was a mountain range and I had couple of plastic Airfix platforms and a few buildings, none of which in a real town would have stood anywhere near each other...

This one was modelled on a container yard. The crane gantry went up and down and the crane came down and picked up containers from lorries and placed then on trains or vice versa. The modern diesel engines made quite realistic sounds too - an innovation that was quite missing from the train sets of my childhood.

But I couldn't help feeling it was a boring setting for a model railway... sorry guys! Get some trains going, never mind all this fiddling about lifting boxes up and down... Still... whatever floats your boat I suppose!

And talking of things that I never had as a kid - this stall (Kytes Lights) had LED lighting sets for emergency vehicles and platform lighting etc. Brilliant! Really realistic too - model ambulances and fire engines had blue flashing lights behind their grills!

There was a large Scalextric track in the main entrance. The trouble with Scalextric was always two-fold: you needed a space the size of your entire home's footprint and the cars move at a scale rate of something roughly twice the land speed record and therefore fly off at corners far too readily...

I used to have a OO scale set called Minic Motorways which was excellent and you could have trains and cars going and both scaled the same! There was even a level crossing so you could crash them into each other!

Chesfield Tramways represents a 1950s town with Blackpool trams running through it. A brilliant set with copper wires strung over the roadways and mostly scratch built trams running up and down. There were Glasgow and Sheffield trams in their fiddle yard I noticed so they weren't just Blackpool trams. The trams actually do pick their current up from the overhead wires too.

A massive layout and N gauge trains allowing for a really intricate and detailed scenery layout. Or a lot of grass... The river crossing was good but not enough trains going for me. Surely that's the point of model trains? I can't be doing with all this bell clanking and lever pulling and signal setting - just get some trains going! Heh heh - ain't I a stinker?

This one was good - I loved this scenery! The setting was Arizona and there was a wrap-around layout with operators standing inside. There were more buildings on the other side so I wondered if we were seeing the back of it, but there was a train going round all the time, so top marks. The loco was making all the right noises too, including a deep hooter blasting out to wake the folks in the nearby reservation...

But for the best ever train sets you need to watch an old Addams Family episode. Two trains would be on a direct route to collision and the watching guest would say "They're going to crash!"
"You think so?" Gomez would say, pressing the plunger to blow up one of the trains!

Large versions of the photos are available from this set at Flickr

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