Southwold show, Bolsover and Hornby’s Railmaster

I have just spent a pleasant weekend operating Mild Wild’s / Hornby Magazine’s layout Bolsover and Seven Pit Lane at the Southwold show in Suffolk. One of the more unusual aspects of this layout is its use of the Hornby Railmaster DCC system, probably the first exhibition layout operating an intensive sequence to do so. 

I don’t intend within my blog to critic shows / exhibitions that I attend as I find this too subjective and “one mans trash is another man treasure” kind of thing, but I will happily discuss any interesting events or topics that arise.

Mike Wild behind the controls of Bolsover and Seven Pit Lane at the Southwold show

Bolsover is an Eastern Region layout with exchange sidings for a local coal mine and well as a frequent main line train service empty coal trains arrive to be shunted by the colliery engine, taken to the screens, filled up with coal before departing back on the main line as a loaded train.  This keeps plenty of movement on the layout and Mike has put together an interesting fleet of both Sound and even smoke unit fitted stock. The sound and smoke fitted A4 is certainly very popular with the public, both the younger generation and the young at heart oldies!  The layout was a subject of two modeling supplements spread over two editions of the Hornby Magazine and was actually sponsored by Hornby Hobbies (Other than the use of the name Hornby Magazine is produced by Ian Allan Publishing and is  not actually part of or anything to do with Hornby Hobbies!) hence the use of Hornby Hobbies track, buildings and most of the scenic’s. 

We first exhibited this layout at the Glasgow show back in February using a then Beta version of Railmaster and reported back to the development team any issues that we found at the time and some of these were corrected over the three days of the show itself and we were able download updated versions overnight! For me being a total DCC Luddite this was quite a baptism of fire but interesting all the same.

With this outing of Bolsover we were also Beta testing a future addition to the Railmaster system, this time the use of Palm device (I guess Android phones and iPhones etc will also be developed) coupled to the Railmaster allowing full wireless control of the system as a handheld unit (and I believe up to eight such devices will be able to be used with Railmaster). We have some feedback to give back to developers on the system, as you would expect for Beta testing, I am unable to say too much more about it at this stage other then to advise that I found intuitive, quick and easy to use and think it will be a very popular addition to the system when released.

One other interesting snippet is that this weekend news broke of the latest limited edition shop commissioned models. This time it is Hatton’s commissioning, via Heljan, a limited edition LMS Beyer Garrett in a number of guises and liveries. Full details will be on their website this week and also in the September issue of Hornby Magazine that should be available from the middle of this week.

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