One of the joys of having a very small and highly portable layout is that half an hour after the end of the show, the two of us travelling together in the car are well on on our way home. Heading down (or should that be up?) the A90 from Aberdeen, we are in deep discussion about the merits of various modelling options and what we planned to do next. Having spend two days on our feet playing with our toy trains, our main topic of conversation is what we will be building, doing, tweeking or maintaining next. This hobby really is quite addictive.
It has been some number of years since I last exhibited anything and despite its small size and limited (very) operation, this weekend was most rewarding, with a number of complimentary comments about the scenery and building (singular). In fact a number of locals correctly identified the basis for station building as being Dufftown and although it was based on it, the building is in fact not a model of any specific location, but instead I attempted to capture the look and feel of the area. One gentleman actually remembered the station! Not bad for a fictitious layout. Another couple discussed where the station had been in the village, as he could remember it but she couldn't. I rather liked that.
The later years on the GNSR saw a wide variety of stock used in a beg-deal-or-borrow type of existence. This included supplementing ex LNER resources with ex LMS and BR standard. Here an ex Caledonian McIntosh 0-4-4T runs the branch passenger through Claterinbrigg.
Overall the layout performed well. There is one small piece of trackwork that I want to improve as this proved unnecessarily troublesome to some vehicles. Most problems were minor and only required a back-to-back check, with a buffer repair being the most serious. Except for my "spare" engine. A last minute buy to cover for emergencies. I had a set of drop in Ultrascale wheel sets [and if you have ordered these you know the waiting time is longer than the half-life of Uranium] so bought a Heljan class 26 in green to fit the era etc. It ran well the first day and totally expired the second. I suppose if I hadn't brought it, the other stock would have failed. Important lesson to note - if you bring it, you wont need it and if you don't bring it, you absolutely will.