Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

30th October 2005

Lots of little trains going round in circles
Posted by at 7.14pm | No responses | Uncategorised

Buoyed by the knowledge that at least one good-looking man will be in Doctor Who next year, I set off early for the Merseyside MRS show at Pacific Road Centre, Birkenhead. Just as well, as my train into town was delayed when someone tried to set fire to it (I kid you not).

Anyway, off at Moorfields from where it’s just a short walk over to the ferry terminal to catch the ferry to Birkenhead. In a rare feat of forward planning, I had bought a Saveaway ticket which is valid on the ferry provided you don’t use it to do a touristy round-trip cruise.

Yet again, I got halfway across the river, saw the classic view of the Liverpool waterfront and cursed myself for forgetting to bring my camera with me. The clouds had lifted and with the sun shining, it really is one of the most stunning views available anywhere.

Anyway, parked up on the tram siding outside the ferry terminal at Woodside was a rather impressive modern-style articulated tram. I have no idea where it had come from (the destination blind said “Edinburgh” but they don’t have a tram system yet) or what it was doing there. And again, I wished I had my camera to take a picture.

To the show itself then: Model railway exhibition attendees seem to fall into two categories: 5 year olds screaming about Thomas dragging their harrassed parents around, and slightly unkempt middle-aged men. Usually I feel slightly out of place, being the only adult male in attendance who has bothered to wash his hair — ever — but today there were a reasonable number of sane-looking people there, which meant I didn’t feel quite as freakishly abnormal as I usually do.

The exhibits were varied: there was one person who had built a working model of a Class 50 locomotive out of Lego, which if nothing else reassured me that I am not the only person in the world with too much time on his hands. There were the usual dreary branchline scenes were a train appears every two hours “because it’s realistic” — do these people have no sense of showmanship? — but there were also a couple of big “tailchaser” layouts with trains appearing all over the place. My personal favourite was Bee Lane, which is based on a section of the West Coast Main Line near Preston — a great excuse to fling out pretty much any available modern train, including the Railtrack track-recording DMU.

All in all, not a bad day out, and it has given me added impetus to get my own layout up and running as soon as possible.

Back to the ferry for the trip back to Liverpool. By now it was mid-afternoon and despite being October, the boat was busy with tourists from all over the place. As we approached the Pier Head, the commentary waxed lyrical about Liverpool’s renaissance, Ferry Cross the Mersey blared out over the speakers and a hundred hands reached for a hundred cameras to take a picture of the Liver Building.

I couldn’t help but feel a small tinge of pride which almost made me forget about the whole someone trying to set the train on fire episode.

Comments are closed.