The Magnificant Seven Go East

This is not an epic about cowboys, well maybe not, but it is about the excursion made by some Southport MRS members to White Rose country and the York model railway exhibition on the 19th of April 2014.

Seven Society members met up at Southport station loaded with enough victuals to amply sustain everyone on this outing. Departure was around 09:20 and we were fortunate our transportation was at least a Class 150-0. Arriving at Manchester Piccadilly on time we transferred to Platform 1, the original one for Woodhead departures, but not too quickly as we were entertained by the on-station cabaret performed by a young woman, not of British lineage, verbally abusing the station staff. Other passengers' comments made will not be repeated here for fear of offending any politically correct zealots.
Arriving at Platform 1, we awaited the late arrival of the Trans Pennine service to Middlesbrough, calling at York. We were not alone. There seemed to be at least two train loads of people waiting to board. Eventually a single Class 185 DMU appeared and the traditional rugby type scrum ensued. Despite reserved seats they were for the wrong train and so it was everyone for themselves. We were split into two groups, one had the food but we had the wine - good planning that. Wedged in unidirectional seats, some sustenance was served during our one and a half hour journey to York. These commuter DMU trains really are not fit for purpose for Inter-City journeys but I suppose the younger generation brought up with budget airlines are used to cramped, uncomfortable seating and find them acceptable. Arriving at York we transferred to an awaiting bus and on to the racecourse.
Admission to the exhibition was £8.00, and a guide was £2.00 which was politely declined. The variety of layouts seem to have improved over the last couple of years after the change of exhibition manager with most layouts being well presented and operating to an entertaining sequence. The trade was well represented, especially ones supplying specialised and modelling products, with an absence of trade stands with no name, displaying products that could best be described as landfill. Although of good quality, some layouts let themselves down due to an absence of any lighting. Another disappointment was the surfeit of car boot type layouts, ones a couple of feet long or less and not doing much. How the operators managed to remain sane for three days on this is type of layout is unfathomable. In fact one car boot layout was observed on four different occasions and nothing on it had moved - the only thing operating was the layout owner's jaw. One of the larger layouts, although well presented did not do much despite having enough computing power to calculate a bank executive's bonus. Overall though the good did outweigh the bad and York 2014 could best be described as an excellent model railway exhibition.