City of Oxford Society of Model Engineers
Dreaming Spires Rally 2009
Saturday & Sunday July 25th and July 26th
Arriving on Friday morning around 10.00 hrs I was amazed to see what had been done. The marquee was almost up, perhaps we are getting used to it now, and all around there was activity with once again the track site looking superb.
Soon after midday the first of our visitors started to arrive with more following throughout the afternoon as the caravan area began to fill up. As locomotives were being unloaded, some to be put away for the night and some to have an evening run, Dave Holland arrived with his trailer to unload. What had he come with this year? As the covers were taken off and the back opened there was no steam engine, Dave it seemed had brought along some self assembly furniture. Well, it's a good job has a sense of humour because the wisecracks were flying, was it a set of bunk beds, did he get it from MFI? However we all had to eat our words, as out of this mass of compoents came a beautiful looking 7 1/4" Tram.
Early evening and all was ready so we settled down for a bit of a chin wag over a beer or two whilst some decided to take to the track for an evening run.
Saturday morning broke fine and bright and very soon day visitors began to arrive and the steaming bays began to fill up fast; however most visitors were happy to wait a while whilst they took refreshment of a cuppa and a bacon roll. Mid morning and both tracks were in full swing with everyone seemingly enjoying themselves. Into the afternoon and all was running well. One thing we are always against, if we can possibly avoid it, is having to roster time on the track, as we believe that if you have travelled long and far you should be able to get a good run until you have had enough.
I must mention Dave here again, who really did take some stick over the weekend about his tram, but he was a true gentleman letting people ride and drive, even I, a true steam man, had a go. Dave, you are welcome back with it anytime.
Away from the railway we had the "shiny metal men", Fred and John selling their bits and pieces as usual, and it was nice to see our friend Geoff Stait along with Helen Verrall with their new venture GS Supplies, who we wish well. Elsewhere a lot was going on around the site but there was still time for visitors and members to sit and take in the sun chatting to friends old and new.
Early evening and I was off to pick up our order of 70 or so portions of Fish and Chips which along with the real fruit salad everyone seemed to enjoy before settling back with a glass of beer and good friends whilst those who wanted to continued to run on the railway. What an end to a fantastic day.
Sunday was again dry and bright but a bit more relaxed with just a couple of new visitors arriving so there was more track space for those who had stayed for the weekend. Mid afternoon and we were beginning to worry that we might get a spot of rain so we took down the marquee just in case. All in all another superb weekend.
So what of the locomotives on show, well again this year we seemed to have a high number of 3 1/2” gauge, some of which ran for 5 hours or so. In fact we had a variety, 28 in total across the gauges, all types, steam, electric, main line and narrow gauge. We also had two steam wagons on show and not forgetting the Tram.
Thanks go to everyone who came and supported us at the Rally both regulars and new, and also to the members of our Society for all their hard work be it lifting, shifting, setting up, taking down, whatever you did and as usual a special thanks to the catering team for keeping us all fed and watered so well.