Open House on April 14th and 15th, 2018
Two beautiful Spring days, with a pleasant temperature and a clear blue sky, have made it possible a record attendance during both days celebrating the 30th anniversary of the CR IIm.
Wether on Saturday or Sunday, the scheme has been the same, with a large number of visitors present since the opening at 10am, and a continuous flow of visitors until the closure, at 6pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday.
The comments we were able to hear were complimentary; the ones published with every passing hour on our Facebook page were alike.
In our premises our two layouts, the Live Steam Oval and the Swiss Layout (electric), were of course presented.
At the Live Steam Oval, the major innovation was the view of the new main tracks, which were recently replaced, even if these are still mainly unballasted; the new ballast is expected to be laid during this year, in parallel with the new sceneries currently set over nearly a quarter of the layout. The mountain area with its tunnel, the avalanche gallery and the cavern has interested our visitors of all ages.
The operation showed a mixed traffic, mostly with european trains, but also with an american passenger train of the Union Pacific railroad.
On the Swiss Layout, our electric layout built on 3 levels, the trains rolled continuously to offer connections between the 4 stations, fighting against the important elevation by adhesion or using the new rack-and-pinion line linking the stations of Blonay and Lucens. The absence of real live steam was replaced by the sounds coming from several engines... On this layout, the variety of the trains and the relief have impressed the visitors.
The layout of Julien Favre, who was our guest this year, attracted a lot of interest among attendees and prompted numerous questions; animated by one of our members on Saturday, the presence of its creator on Sunday was even more interesting. This gave the opportunity to our attendees to congratulate Julien, who is also an inhabitant of Etagnières, in short our neighbour...
More than a detailed layout, the creation of the vehicles operated on this layout are partly trains purchased here and there, which have been adapted and customised or handcrafted to represent other vehicles, but some are also scratchbuilt or completely built by Julien; the trains and compositions shown during the weekend were mainly the ones operated by the LEB railway, a railroad company which for decades was at the service of the whole Gros-de-Vaud region.
A municipal room provided generously permitted us to present a temporary layout using tracks of 45mm gauge mounted on tables, on which short trains were operated, most of them live steam powered; the small radius of curves of this layout limited the operations to north american logging trains, or industrial trains which were also operated throughout the european continent; some lines had also seen passenger trains before the invasion of the private car.
And, to receive our visitors in a friendly way and offer them some rest, without forgetting that this is expected to raise funds for our association, a canteen offering food and beverages had been organised. An activity that has not been an easy task to our cooks, as our two members assigned to the grill and the french fries had to face a huge and constant demand during the peak time; since 11am, and on Sunday until later than 3pm, the job was very demanding.
The wife of one of our members, Muriel, had prepared on site delicious cakes, pies, lemon tartlets and even some tiramisus! Need a proof of the quality and savour of these delicious desserts? The pie slices were sold as soon they were ready and cut!
Many thanks also to the team who sold the coupons for the canteen, or the others who made their best to serve quickly our clients; their humble task was also very demanding.
All these efforts by our members and our volunteers have been fruitful, as we were able to reach an amount of sales above our expectations!
On Saturday, the attendance was one of the great days; the sales of the canteen were clearly higher than the previous years and it has been necessary to organise additional purchases in emergency...
On Sunday, the additional supplies proved to be justified...; nearly everything could be sold!
All the members, wether operating their trains or working to feed or welcome our visitors, have given a lot of their time and energy...; on Sunday evening, the fatigue was present with painful legs, but all this was mostly compensated by the pleasure of having been successful in this event's organisation, without any problem or incident.
Without blushing, we can say that this Open House 2018, celebrating the 30 years of existence of our association, has been a total success!