Every so often we have what we nominally call an 'open day'. It's really just an excuse to play with some trains with friends, thouh occasionally we hope to raise a little money for one of our favourite Cambridge charities; Cambridge Central Aid.
Practical and Running Information
We've a large garden so we can accommodate a fair number of visitors. There's about 70 yards of track, mainly as one circuit of single track, a passing section, and a number of sidings. Please bring along any loco's or stock you'd like to run (especially if I'm down to one engine!).
The track is intended for self-powered loco's - steamers and battery-powered loco's are extremely welcome.
I'm in the throes of converting all my loco's to self power, partly to avoid too much track maintenance, and partly to avoid a long extension lead to the track. I don't yet know if I'll be powering the track on the open days. Let me know if you would like me to, and what you'd need. My current transformer only provides 12 volts - which has been fine for all my past needs.
One novel possibility, depending on the weather, is that I have successfully powered the track from a large solar panel I have!
You are welcome to bring rolling stock as well as any engines. Unless they are distinctive it's probably worth labelling them. Most of my couplings are 3-link single buffer at about 24mm above rail, but some of my semi-converted stock will convert to/from LGB or Bachmann knuckles. In any case, there's always British Standard Paperclips.
A few basics that shouldn't need to be said, but for the avoidance of doubt:
Any children are wholly the responsibility of their accompanying adult. Touching steam trains is like sticking your hand in boiling water (except even hotter because of the pressure) - do not do it. The lines may be electrified - don't touch. Everything is horribly expensive and a lot will belong to other visitors, treat with respect.
No pets please.
For those not familiar with Rule 8 - it manifest's itself either on the GSM forum or in the rules of The Snark Club (re. Lewis Carroll's 'Hunting of the Snark'). The former has it that 'it's my railway, you can run what you like.', the latter, which I prefer for it's simplicity, is simply blank.
The garden is about 1/4 acre. It's the result of many years of planting stuff and seeing what happens - with an emphasis on it maintaining itself. It seems to work more often than not. Neither of us would regard ourselves as gardeners in the Horticultural Society sense - most plants are known to us as 'that yellow thing your Mum gave us' rather than anything requiring latin.
We garden organically. Any remaining inappropriate plants are not 'weeds' but "expressions of alternative life" - until they get pulled up, that is. (However, I make an exception for lilac. That really is a weed...).
The signalbox, built to house teenager overflow, is by "Buildings Bespoke" who also do a nice line in grounded wagons, etc, as sheds.
We might have a few plants for sale for charity.
We would like to raise funds for a local charity we support. The Cambridge Central Aid Society has looked after the forgotten poor of this area for nigh on 130 years. It distributes small (typically £100) but effective grants to individuals and families referred to the charity by social services, CAB, et al. These small grants make a huge difference, and when we spend on our wagons and coaches it's a reminder that others in this ostensibly affluent part of Britain are desparate for a 2nd-hand cooker or fridge, but simply can't afford it.
There's no charge, but a pot for donations and maybe some plants and things for sale.