Seaburn Leisure Centre is a superb location for the Sunderland and District MRC Exhibition. A modern, spacious building
on a single level which makes disabled access easy.
We arrived on the Friday evening around 7.30pm and setup the stand and left around 9.00pm. Back again on Saturday to
finalise the setup and get running.
The exhibition layout was superb. Rather than FILL the centre with layouts and stands, these guys had set a limit on the number of
exhibits and traders and used the remaining space to allow for wider aisles and two seating areas, one of which was directly in
front of our stand (Thanks guys - much appreciated by us and the visitors).
The variety of layouts was excellent with almost every gauge represented. The Houghton Colliery layout in Gauge 1 and the Mardy Model
Shop in Gauge 2 were the largest and Z gauge (used in the Mardy Model Shop) was the smallest. The layouts also covered a wide
time scale from the 1900's through to Modern image. One layout of interest to us was the Alston layout in 4mm, represented in
MSTS by Vern's 'Alston - South Tyne' route.
The weather over the whole weekend was fabulous for the time of year. Brilliant sunshine, so much so that we arrived early on the
Sunday morning for a walk along the prom. Cab-It was born in Sunderland and remembers walking along this prom with her father
many years ago. A rather different seafront these days. As a result of the weather, the numbers attending was slightly down
on the previous year but still a good attendance.
Routes on demonstration included, North West England, Alston - South Tyne, Blackpool Tramway, MidEast, Cannock, Skipton 1920,
Yorkshire Coast, Scottish Central, Thames Mersey, Highworth and Talyllyn. It was interesting to note that a large number of our
visitors did not have an Internet connection and those that did were on dialup (Broadband not available ???). As a result
we ran out of Mail Order Forms and had to post some out on our return from the exhibition.
It was also nice to see a number of the smaller demonstration stands at the show. Tree making, building construction (using individual
bricks - the wife makes the bricks, the husband build the models with them), a Southern EMU stand and a DCC stand.
We were joined on Sunday by Chris Heighton (morpethcurve) who set up his own machine on the end table and demonstrated the latest
version Yorkshire Coast and various other aspects of MSTS.
Also appearing was a 4mm representation of the Sunderland Corporation Tramway as it existed from 1900 to 1954. An excellent
layout with some superb models. Thanks to Vern we have the Blackpool Tramway in MSTS and I believe Doug Kightley is currently
working towards completion of the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tramway, we look forward to demonstrating it.
Thanks to Chris Heighton for joining us and helping out (your sandwich box will be at Shildon for collection TeeHee).
We would like to thank the Sunderland MRC for the invitation, refreshments and an excellent exhibition.
We look forward to seeing
you all again next year.