The week before the show the layout was taken apart for the first time since the scenery had been added. Despite vacuuming beforehand there was a lot of loose ballast around.
As it is a Warley club layout it travelled from the club to the NEC in the back of the artic used for transportation of all club stuff - layouts, barriers, tea urn etc. I was busy on other duties at the NEC so when it arrived all the boards were dropped in the right place in the hall.
A few bits had fallen off during transit but nothing too serious.
Assembly had to wait for a while. The magnificent Harz layout was bigger than originally planned and the viewing area was also different to what was expected. This meant that things didn't quite fit in with the floor plan.
The reasons for this are not important - our ethos is that we don't have problems only solutions. It was agreed that Kirtley would be put up as planned but this would be hard up against the Harz line. This meant we were sticking out further than planned so, in order to keep the minimum gangway width, we would have to run without barriers.
Although there is a risk to running without barriers the exhibition manager said that any breakages caused by this would be covered by the club and I knew that the treasurer would fully support this. We couldn't see that anyone would just pick up a G scale loco and run off with it anyway.
One essential piece of rail had been knocked off the fiddle yard entrance but this was soon fixed by cutting a piece from a less important bit of track.
I was rather tied up Saturday and was very pleased that the layout was in the capable hands of Dave and my brother. Thanks once again Dave and thanks to my brother.
Running without barriers had some interesting side effects.
Firstly we found that this is not good when all points have to be changed manually from the front of the layout. I have piont motors available and now I will fit them.
Secondly we found it was a very good arrangement for letting younger visitors have a drive. For a lot of the time the layout was operated by young visitors. It was great to see the expression on the youngsters faces when we said would you like to drive and handed them the controller. The ones that I saw were very well behaved and drove very carefully. Sometimes their parents looked very worried that we were trusting their little ones to drive but most of the time there was someone at the control panel waiting to throw the off switch just in case.
So although this was not the original intention we became an interactive layout and I certainly enjoyed doing things that way.