Christchurch Trainshow Report.
October 3rd. & 4th. at Pioneer Stadium.

Chris borrowed a utility truck to transport our tables & trestles, so that was made easy! This year we reduced the layout size a little, to 19.5ft by 9ft, which proved ideal size. On the 1st day we had a double 3 rail track & a C/W, but found this rather restrictive, so first thing on 2nd day added an extra track of 3ft radius 3 rail track for 20V AC power, to supplement the 12 V DC double track. Many locos needed the 20v to perform properly, and yet others were happy on 12V DC.

A couple of small glitches - 10 minutes after opening on the first day we had a short circuit! But with the multimeter set on Ohms and halving the track again and again the fault was soon found and new insulation tabs fitted to the offending rail, so we were back running in 10 minutes, with c/w maintaining service meantime.

Second glitch was a fire! After last year`s trouble free run with a small Bing meths-fired live steam loco we tried an Auld this time, but the noise level in the stadium prevented me from hearing the steam raising singing and whistling noises & I released the train a bit late.Steam pressure was high & it charged off and came off the track at the curve flames everywhere! Only damage was a hole in the table covering material and a fright to one of Lew`s Marx locos.

As usual we ran a considerable variety of train types, Hornby c/w of postwar vintage, plus prewar No. 2 Spl Tanks & No. 1 Spl Tank, etc. Robin kept the c/w flag flying, with help from Bruce and Chris . David Christie ran postwar c/w too, good to have a youngster running trains with us. Some spectators seemed amazed that we had to wind them up!Some Hornby electrics ran too, Hugh`s E502 (ex Canada), and his Metropolitan 20V which ran fine after inital sluggishness. Hugh had Metro coaches to go with it. My replica Metro ran too and also my Goddard powered Nord with Blue Train coaches and a fake Mitropa (not faked by me!) The younger spectators liked the brighty shining headlights. A Princess Elizabeth ran, quite happily on 12volts DC. hauling 5 Hornby Pullmans.

Many other brands ran too, Lew has a selection of Lionel, Marx, American Flyer. His Lionel F3 diesel type is heavy enough to give you a hernia! American Flyer of the 1920s & 1930s ran, not a brand often seen in this country. Marx ran with usual high speed zip, the Americans did not believe in underpowering their trains. Lew very recently obtained a little 1935 Lionel set that he had been trying to buy for the last year. It came from the North Island and was all original with three coaches etc. Goes very well, had been a `one-owner` train since new. My 1933 Lionel 262E ran a lot, heavy trains are no problem, and it looks like a steam engine - all black with shiny trim, no pansy pretty colours here! A great old workhorse.

The electric Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck handcar was popular with the kiddies, and for a while it was pursued by Robin`s Thomas, Donald & Mickey pumping furiously to keep in front. As usual Percy (Goddard 12V mech) & Thomas entertained the youngsters. The airscrew propelled `Zeppelin` ran quite a bit, sometimes with young David at the controls. These types of things are not purist collector`s items but do attract attention. Two trams ran all day on a small oval of 027 track. One was a Corgi PCC car with Bowser (USA) motorising kit fitted, the other was a Bowser Brill trolley car. Silver Crane building tins dressed up this oval somewhat. I noticed a few tram enthusiasts having a look at the trams.

Peter ran Bassett-Lowke 4.4.0. Ray showed his fine old pair of Bing bogie coaches with internal furnishings, plus he ran a string of Hornby tank wagons etc. Don ran Triang Big Big train coaches, hauled by either a battery mech powered 101 or a spritely c/w 101. Paul had turned the spring inside out, rejuvenating performance.

Started packing up trains not required for further running at 4.30pm, the show closed at 5 and by 5.20 all trestles & tables were on the ute. We had kept accessories to a minimum thus easing work but the crowd seemed happy with what we had. Incidently there was a record crowd this year. so it was a successful show. We had fun anyway, with a little fright to enliven things!


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1998 John Griffiths

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