Thursday, 12 September 2013

September Sunshine

The first weekend in September used to mean one thing for me, the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway's 'Models and Miniatures' Gala weekend, a mixture of model railways on display in the Griffin Hall building and usually at least one 15" gauge visitor running alongside the home fleet. It was always a very friendly event and we took 'Shifting Sands' on two occasions as it was the ideal venue to display and interpret the layout, as indeed was it's period in residence in the 'Rails to the Sands' exhibition for a couple of seasons. As one visitor commented, stepping back outside to see real 15" gauge trains at the seaside after watching 'Shifting Sands' became a little confusing!

'Shifting Sands' at Cleethorpes in 2009, the author and Spongebob-clad helper.
Alas, with the changes to Griffin Hall to accommodate much of the 'Rails to the Sands' content from the display over the road, and the tightening economics of moving 15" gauge equipment between sites, the event has not run in the last few years. As the recent 1940s-themed event featuring 'Katie' from Windmill Farm proved visiting locomotives at the railway are still popular, however it is easy to underestimate the amount of effort, careful negotiation and expenditure to bring in multiple visiting locomotives for a railway-themed gala event. It is hard to imagine now the kind of gala event that the CCLR ran in the mid-1990s being feasible in today's economic climate, with up to 6 visiting locomotives at some events. The September events usually brought some of the last summer sunshine to the coast, an added bonus!

'Synolda' from Ravenglass at Cleethorpes September 2008
At one of the last 'Models and Miniatures' events the comment was heard that the circus was about to roll on to the next town for the following weekend. Indeed it did, as the second weekend of the month is that of the Kirklees Light Railway's gala weekend and at that time some of the locomotives, and many of the visitors, would attend both events.  The photo above was taken the week before the KLR's 'Battle of the Atlantics' gala.  The last few years have been a different story, as the KLR team have been able to accommodate larger (and potentially more crowd pleasing) visitors than before. This year will see Romney, Hyth & Dumchurch 'Pacific' no.7 'Typhoon' visit alongside Bure Valley tank no.8 'Thunder'. I'm not sure how they will be able to top that next year, but I've every confidence that they will...

The author aboard BVR no. 8 'Thunder' in 2008

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