Monday 28 May 2012

RAILEX 2012 – and what a show it was!

120527_railex12_DSC_5164 by nevardmedia
120527_railex12_DSC_5164, a photo by nevardmedia on Flickr.
The annual Railex in Aylesbury on the weekend of 26th and 27th of May cued the beginning of summer like it so often does. I’m sat here in the garden with laptop taking advantage of the weather, our rather limp-wristed wi-fi just about giving me a signal strong enough to allow me to reflect on a fabulous weekend away from the more usual camera, sofa or modelling bench.

Railex as always is in a very well lit supersized tin shed built for some Olympic thing a couple of decades ago, and excluding my poor effort hosted some of the best talent around in the toy chuffer world without disappointment. The Princes Risborough club have this knack of packing out the floor space with all sorts of gems from both modellers displaying what if added up must be hundreds of years of workmanship along with those sought after retailers (those all important men in sheds mostly) selling wonderful goodies no longer found in high street model shops – even if you have one that is!

As an exhibitor, this was to be my 5th Railex, for some reason they wanted me to bring Brewhouse Quay along, I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it’s a good example of a quick ready to plop bodge in model making and how not to do it which isn’t really what the show is all about – it’s a show for better than that.

For 4 years out of 5 I have been in the corner furthest from the door, which frequently is a quadrant of 1/76 scale layouts which this year consisted of the forever growing Bron Hebrog (OO) , Albion Yard (OO) , Canada Road (EM) , Diesels in the Duchy - all great company I’m sure you’ll agree!

Of course there were many other equally fantastic layouts which can be found listed here with reviews popping up on the various toy chuffer forums. Best Layout deservedly went to the lovely pre-grouping Penlan - a very worthy winner all the way from Cornwall depicting a lush part of the LNWR in Wales a little north of Swansea.

Within 30 minutes of the doors opening curiously beer started to arrive, totally out of the blue some lovely Loose Canon Brewery draft ale from 7mm scale modeller and altogether top chap John Atkinson was passed over the fiddle yard. Before the smiles had faded Samuel Bennett – another altogether top chap and eager snapper I hasten to add, handed over 2 bottles of ale, one from Ascot Ales and another from the Windsor and Eton Brewery. Because I know that you chaps read my twaddle here, you be delighted to know that the *beer has now all gone* (jobsworths, please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page) – the hot weather making it even more tasty – so CHEERS to you! The hoppy malty aroma of the ales helped the atmosphere of the brewery themed layout all too well. I might have to install handpumps next time the layout goes out!

Despite felling a little squiffy from all the ale (more likely the heat), Brewhouse Quay worked well, with only one point switch-blade parting company from the copper clad tiebar – easily fixed with a dab of the soldering iron luckily. The Caboose Hobbies manual ground throws caused interest or irritation depending on whether you’re a ‘hand of god’ type of person or not. BQ uses 3 link coupling because they look good in photos mainly, so ‘hand of god’ to operate the points is only a little more intrusion.

Thanks must go to the Railex team who as always do their best to make the show go well behind the scenes as well as ‘front of house’ ensuring a good experience for all.

Finally my BIGGEST thank you must go to Graham Muspratt who gave up his whole weekend when he could have been enjoying BBQs and such, but instead helped operate Brewhouse Quay in a far more professional manner than I ever can.

I’ve been asked about next year’s Railex but I do have a few overdue layout-operational debts to pay to other layout owners, I am also planning a modern themed 12 footer with DCC sound and actual mineral loading, but that’s another story….

* Note for jobworths: The beer was drunk at home later, being drunk in charge of a model railway in a public place would be very irresponsible of course, driving over a layout spider would not be good.We did sample two bottles in our respective meal breaks for research purposes, and placed the empty bottle on the side of the layout to help with the atmosphere.

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