Expong this year followed the usual recipe for the event – a huge total number of stands – 72 according to the programme, with trade and association/societies being present in force, and 18 layouts tucked away between them all. However, despite some concerns voiced in some quarters before the event, that there were insufficient layouts booked and half of them could be described as “micro” layouts to boot, I think that everyone who attended, including myself, thought that it was a really splendid show and the quality of most of the layouts that were present was very high indeed. Added to all that is what may be described as “The Expong Experience” – you really have to go there and join in to understand that I suppose. As I’ve said before, it is without doubt the undisputed magnet for those who are involved with or a supporter of narrow gauge modelling in all scales to meet up for both a social gathering and renewing of acquaintances, to enjoy seeing the top quality modelling present and being able to talk to the layout builders in an enlightened environment that is simply not present at “mainstream shows”; and of course to spend lots of money at the full range of narrow gauge modelling specialities on offer from the traders and societies.
I travelled on the Friday with the 009 Society Sales stand and therefore was present for the whole time from “doors opening” at 8pm Friday through to the Le Mans style rush to vacate the hall and get out of the carpark after closure at 5.30pm Saturday (but we did actually vacate the leisure centre in order to sleep between 11pm Friday and 7.30am Saturday (!)), so I saw first hand the tremendous amount of work put in by Hazel Brewer and her Greenwich & District NG Society colleagues, particularly on Friday night, to try to ensure that everyone was properly accounted for, booked in, looked after and settled into their designated “patches” despite the efforts of the leisure centre staff to not provide access to all the halls, in the case of the small gym until 10pm!
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