Yesterday’s trip to Eurospoor has come and gone. It was an excellent, but very, very, long day. It’ll take several blogs to do justice to it all. In summary….
- 0609: On Earlswood station to catch the first train of the day, three stops to Gatwick.
- 0805: Breakfast and desperately needed coffee in Starbucks at Gatwick (where’s a MacDonald’s when you need one). Met John and Paul at the gate, and took off by EasyJet to Amsterdam Schipol.
- 10:15: Arrive Schipol and walk straight from airport onto the station concourse. Like Gatwick but 19 platforms not 7 (I’m reliably informed that Schipol is the main junction in the Netherlands, where four lines meet).
- 10:45: Having worked out the self-service ticket machine, we only have a three minutes wait for a train to Utrecht. It’s a yellow and blue NS double deck EMU. We take the top deck and watch the world go by. It’s a fast and quiet ride, but I am relieved that it’s not perfect, as there is graffiti sprayed in the entrance lobby. We pass through a little bit of countryside, but mainly the outer suburbs of Amsterdam.
- 11:30: It’s a bit of a walk in the rain from Utrecht station to the exhibition hall, but we are soon inside and planning the day. John and Paul opt to go shopping first (surprise, surprise), but I first walk around both halls (one mainly trade, one mainly layouts). Looking at the trade was very interesting, and I was (as always) tempted to buy a Flying Hamburger (German DMU) and also buy some Dutch stock, but resisted. I’ll describe the layouts in more detail later.
- 17:00: Footsore and (in two cases) considerably poorer, we leave the show to walk to ‘Chez Willie’s’, John and Paul’s recommended eating house.
- 17:30: Oh dear, Willie is no longer there. Chez Willie’s has become a tapas bar. Still, we eat there anyway and have a tasty, if a little pricey meal.
- 20:00: Having taken the train back to Schipol, we experience the usual EasyJet end-of-day knock on delay, and our 21:20 flight leaves at 22:00 or so.
- 22:00: A 45 quick minute flight back from Gatwick, and I miss the last train that stops at Earlswood by 10 minutes. Thank you EasyJet. So I take a train to the next station, Redhill, and an SOS to Maxine means that transport home is awaiting.
- 23:00: Arrive home to be greeted by the budgie.
- 23:15: BED.
So to the layouts. I’ll probably take three or four posts with the photos. Today, just a few giving a flavour of what was going on. Then two or three more with some of the best layouts. Apologies for a few of the photos. I had to use my old camera, and I think the focussing is going a little strange…. So here we are, in the main hall. Big by most UK standards.
Of the layouts, there were a number of modular set ups. Some were ‘boxed’ scenes linked together, and others more generic HO or Marklin HO layouts. There was often some very good modelling tucked away in these scenes. There was some very good narrow gauge modelling on display.
Next time, I’ll have a more detailed look at some of the very good layouts on display. And how does it compare with the Stuttgart show? For the shopper, Eurospoor must be better, with a whole hall of new and second-hand shops (though Honest John had to hunt for the bargains, as prices were generally high). Stuttgart does seem to have more exhibits from the major manufacturers and more ‘small parts’ stands from specialist suppliers. The layouts were probably comparable in number and standard, though Eurospoor has more and a much wider variety. (Stuttgart being, of course, dominated by the N-club modular monstrosity). Perhaps where Stuttgart does win out is that it is also a social event for the N-club meet. And in fairness, both are well worth a visit.