November this year sees the 10th anniversary since the first exhibition outing for Fisherton Sarum. Wycrail 2006, the annual exhibition of the High Wycombe and District Model Railway Society, was the first public appearance, and was the first time the layout was actually fully operated. I was however able to set the layout up for the very first time at the Society’s clubrooms the week before and some very last minute corrections to wiring etc. (thanks again Mark!) ensured that on the day itself things went pretty much to plan.
Getting a new layout on the exhibition circuit for the first time can sometimes be tricky owing the chicken and egg conundrum that to get exhibition invites you often need to be already seen on the exhibition circuit. Being a member of a Model Railway Society or Club is often a way, as in my case, of getting an invite to the Society’s own Wycrail show and therefore that first public appearance.
I have always been indebted to members of the HWDMRS and my own family for assisting with the exhibiting of Fisherton Sarum and its first outing was no exception although Simon and Daniel, now somewhat grown up working for Network Rail and being at University respectively, probably wont thank me for showing them here in their younger days…
In the ten years since that first outing I have enjoyed exhibiting across the country, at now nearly 30 shows, ranging from Wadebridge in the South West, Manchester, Hartlepool, Doncaster in the North, The Warley NEC show, Tonbridge and Worthing in the South and of course on Salisbury station itself.
Since its first few outings many things have changed, developed and been added to the layout, usually as a result of the operating team making suggestions over a pint or two, such as:
- The addition of the lighting rig (essential in some venues and provides even and consistent lighting for the layout whatever the location)
- Adding an additional controller to increase operation on the main running lines
- Method of control and communications between the fiddle yards
- Point control change from Solenoid to slow acting motors
- Turntable control system updated to the MERG controller for indexing
- Automatic uncoupling added for stores van and ash wagon
- Control panel now located out the front of the layout
- Rolling stock continually changed as new models are built or produced
- Additional details always being added, a layout is never finished!
Fisherton Sarum returned to Wycrail in 2014 and will also be making an appearance at the High Wycombe and District Model Railways Society’s open day on Saturday 21st May 2016 see here for more details. I will continue to exhibit Fisherton Sarum, as it has always been enjoyable, but have always limited its appearances to approximately 3 shows a year and the current small number of booked appearances can be found here, although a couple more are in discussion so watch this space.