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t-b-g last won the day on November 26 2011

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  1. I have been to a few shows that organise a social do. Some ask for a financial contribution and some are happy to finance it themselves. There are a nice part of a weekend away. I think any show financing it themselves and making a loss as a result might need to reconsider their generosity.
  2. Possibly the biggest crowd round any layout that I ran at a show was when I was a guest operator on "Gresley Beat" a few times. A real crowd pleaser and the star of every show it went to. Yet as an operator, running Leighton Buzzard was massively more enjoyable and there were several times when the day ended and I didn't want to stop! As you say, each to their own.
  3. That is most interesting. I haven't examined the finances in detail but the impression that some people were giving is that they were all leaking money. In many respects, I am not sure that such shows do need to make money or even to break even. As a member, if part of my annual subscription goes to subsidise a brilliant show like Telford, I don't have a problem with that. The purpose of a society show, in my view, shouldn't be to make a profit. It should be to showcase the work of the members and provide an opportunity to meet up, pick brains, buy stuff and generally have a fun weekend. I would prefer my subs to be used for such things as the shows and the magazine rather than sit in a bank. If it is just a case of sorting out the costs of the big annual show, it seems as if that is already happening.
  4. Glad to hear it! Even on Buckingham, which isn't even a continuous run, we have expresses rattling through Grandborough Junction including one that detaches a slip coach. So even a train that just rattles through can have a bit of added operational interest. When we run Narrow Road to its sequence, there is an ebb and flow of local trains and goods, connections with a branch, plus some "non stop" running from one end of the line to the other, around 120ft. If we just had a token goods and a local train and 90% expresses, it would soon get boring. The mix is around 50% local trains, 25% goods and 25% expresses. It seems about right for the layout and the facilities.
  5. That is one aspect of the shows that has puzzled me. My involvement with running shows has been minimal but you don't have to be an expert to work out that trade stands generate revenue for a show through stand rental and possibly adverts in brochure. Layouts generate costs. There are many exhibitions out there with a much greater proportion of layouts to traders that still manage to cover the costs and make a profit. The GOG guild shows, which have a much higher proportion of trade stands to layouts, make losses and apparently quite big ones. So somewhere, the GOG have got the sums for the shows wrong. Whether they are paying more than other places for a venue, not charging enough for trade stands, have too many "hangers on" claiming expenses or all of the above and maybe other factors. Without pointing fingers and apportioning blame, these things can change gradually over years without people noticing. One year somebody asks if they can come up on Thursday as it is a big set up and they want to start Friday morning. Word gets around and all of a sudden you have lots of people "Well they did it last year". Same for Sunday night. "Can we stay and travel back Monday?" all of a sudden you have hotel bills for 4 nights instead of two. Then such things become almost expected. When I exhibit, I expect to pay for meals on Friday and Saturday nights and I expect to travel home Sunday evening. The only time I didn't, I was helping on another layout and the layout owner paid the bill for Sunday night. I have never exhibited at the GOG shows and I have no idea if this is the way they are run but I have seen people asking for those sorts of expenses at other shows. If things like meals out for two or three nights and hotels for 4 nights are allowed as expenses, then that may go a long way to explaining the losses.
  6. In my view, a layout that depicts a variety of operations is the best. The express stopping to connect with a branch train waiting in the bay. The adding or removing of vehicles. The express thundering through. All add their own bit of railway atmosphere. The pick up goods. The occasional special, perhaps horse boxes. Most of all the mineral traffic that many routes were built for. The layouts I have enjoyed most are the ones that get the balance right. An express going by looks great but you need the "counterpoint" of the other workings to emphasise the "specialness" of the express. A loco fussing about in a yard being passed by an express is much more interesting than one express then another express.
  7. Possibly. I do find that explaining what is running and why can be a big part of drawing in an audience at a show.
  8. I always thought that there was an opportunity for a goods train going North to stop, back into the yard to clear the line, shunt without blocking either main line then depart to the North again. All the time leaving the Southbound line clear. Perhaps I have forgotten some aspect of the track plan that made that difficult. It wouldn't have to do much, just drop of a brake van and pick up or drop off a wagon or two. I find that one of the things that divides the operators from the runners of trains is that one looks for reasons to do interesting moves, the other looks for reasons to avoid them!
  9. I think most exhibitors will have had those experiences. It doesn't matter how well you prepare, either some damage in transit, or temperature, humidity or your favourite shunter breaking down can all make it difficult. Much of it is about intent. Do you set out wanting to put on a show of interesting operation or do you set out just to send round a procession of trains? That is the basic mindset difference between train runners and operators. I can usually tell an operator from a train runner very quickly. I will illustrate with a short tale! Under other conditions, I have occasional visitors to see Buckingham. Some don't want to touch the layout, others can't wait to get their hands on the controls. That is an early indicator. I had a small group visiting one time and the operator didn't set the point into the goods yard and lower the signal as a goods train set off from Grandborough. They brought the train down to a slow walking pace approaching the signal, then changed the point, changed the signal and accelerated the train ever so slightly. That was the first time I had seen this person running a layout but I could immediately tell that he was an operator, not a train runner. It is little things like that. 99% of people wouldn't even notice what he had done but it didn't matter to him, he was replicating what would have happened on the real railway. Dead simple but massively effective.
  10. Maybe wiped out by the internet in most of the world but don't forget, the O gauge community lives in a completely different era to everybody else and the GOG shows still have those very same sorts of people peddling their wares. Perhaps that is why I enjoy them so much.
  11. Some of my earliest memories involve "playing trains" with dad. When I was very young, it was little more than a Hornby Dublo trainset but we had a two track Kings Cross, a circuit with a single platform station that was Peterborough, Grantham etc. depending on how many circuits you had done and a two track Edinburgh in the middle of the circuit. Golden Fleece on 2 corridor coaches was the Express, which only ever ran North as we had no turntable. An N2 on two non corridor coaches went either way and the goods was handled by an 8F. It was always operated "properly" and we never cheated on the number of circuits. On a Saturday, we would go to the local model shop and buy a kit for a wagon or a building and sit and make it together. By the time I was 14 we had a much more realistic layout, with Peco track, a junction station and a branch line and it was run to a timetable. We never just "ran a train". It was the 6.05 stopper to Nottingham, with motive power that dad had seen on a Nottingham stopper in the 1950s. Those twin aspects of making things and operating a layout are very much what the hobby is about for me. Lose either one and half the fun would go. Your Dad's layout sounds like great fun to work. Has it been published or photographed?
  12. It does me as well. My mum had an electric sewing machine that drowned out any conversation. I hope it refers to the smoothness of the movement rather than the noise level.
  13. That aspect is one of the reasons why we stopped exhibiting Narrow Road. Advancing years, the baseboards getting heavier as we get older, infirmity and even the loss of some of the operating team. Any future exhibition layouts will be very much a "one car with two people" size. I am lucky in that I can enjoy a small shunting layout just as much as I can a 30ft main line one. One time when I do like to set them going and let them run is when I am working on a layout. We have an optional continuous run on Narrow Road in its permanent set up and setting things going round and watching them pass at different places while you are tinkering with some scenic work is very pleasant. Then there is the testing of new or repaired locos and stock. Seeing your latest creation going round (hopefully!) like a sewing machine is a lovely way to enjoy the completion of the project. We do have a distinction between going down to the shed to run some trains or going down to the shed to operate the layout. The two are quite different.
  14. I wish I could remember if I made it up or stole it! There was a reference to the difference between running trains and operating in Frank Dyer's series of articles in the early MRJs, which are still my "bible" when it comes to operating a layout. He, along with Peter Denny, really understood the subtle nuances of operating a layout more than anybody else I am familiar with.
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