How many visitors to model railway shows give a passing thought to the frenetic activity that occurs before the doors are opened? Pete Kelly arrived at Caistor Town Hall in Lincolnshire three hours before opening time to see what was involved in setting up this year’s Caistor Model Railway Show.
When we visit one of the plethora of railway exhibitions large and small all over the country, many of us have no idea of what is involved in putting them all together, not to mention taking them apart again at the end of it all.
As my ‘local’ model railway shop is Caistor Loco, a good 30 miles away in the square of the old Georgian market town, I’ve been visiting the Caistor Model Railway Club’s annual October exhibition for the past seven years or so, and this year’s event, over the weekend of October 27-28, was no exception.
Pete Fowler, of Caistor Loco, and his son Danny had been at it for most of the previous day, almost emptying the shop as they loaded boxes and boxes of model locomotives, trains, rolling stock, scenic items, building kits and anything else that the show visitors might want – and although the town hall is only a stone’s throw from the shop, they didn’t leave until 8.30pm that evening.
To compete with the major modelling retailers, running a small model shop in the middle of a sleepy little town necessitates lots of extra hard work attending as many weekend exhibitions as possible – and such outlets deserve our support if they are to continue into the future.
When I arrived soon after 7am on the Saturday, several vans were already parked outside as exhibitors and stand-holders walked to and fro carrying baskets and boxes full of goods, while bacon and sausage baps, along with mugs of tea and coffee, were soon being passed through the kitchen’s serving hatch. As I sat down in the dining area to write my first notes, I wondered how anyone could sell a bap and a cuppa for£1.50 all in!
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