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Portable Track for Fete's etc.


Joined: 1-01-70

Topics: 9

Replies: 8

Posted: Thu 22nd Dec 2011, 10:04pm
Portable Track for Fete's etc.

Just wondering what suggestions people would have for a portable track we could take around a few fetes

Has anyone had any experience of this ?

Many Thanks in advance


Replies To This Post


Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 25

Replies: 318

Posted: Fri 23rd Dec 2011, 9:58am

Done a few. Best advice is pick your venues carefully, it's a lot of hard work and if you go to the wrong places, for very little return. Keep your track as lightweight as practical, and take plenty of packing for rough ground.


Joined: 1-01-95

Topics: 4

Replies: 40

Posted: Fri 23rd Dec 2011, 10:36am

Hi Chris - First ensure that you have adequate insurance cover (public liability in particular) for attending portable track events; this could be cover for individuals, or more likely 'club' cover could include portable track runs. Make sure there are enough reliable and competent folk in your team. Inspect any proposed site for suitability; is the ground reasonably level and stable (our club runs on hard surfaces only, not on grass). Most importantly - can the railway be operated safely (we insist on the host site providing adequate cordons e.g. fencing)?
Length of run depends on the site; a short run can be 'up and down twice' to offer value for passengers. A long run can be more worthwhile, but involves more time setting up/down.
Unless you're doing it all at your own considerable expense(!) make sure any terms of business and site requirements are clearly understood by the event host well before committing to attend the event.
It's necessary to make sure your transport is adequate to get all your equipment to the site - trailers, locos, rolling stock, track, accesories, not forgetting your operating staff - this could require a number of vehicles!
Setting up track may take longer than you think (packing timbers are an essential part of the kit), so allow plenty of time to prepare on site after arrival - all this may mean a very early start for the participants.
Track panels should be quick and easy to assemble - our club uses steel box section for rail with opposing end pins that simply push together; sleepers are 15mm thick exterior ply which saves weight.
Locos should be adequate and reliable haulers - at least two locos (one for reserve) is good practice. Rolling stock should be of suitable construction to withstand heavy loadings and (unfortunately) passengers who don't much care about nice paintwork!
If the above doesn't deter you, portable track runs, like permanent track operation, can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. Good luck!
Please don't hesitate to contact me again for more information/advice if required - my contact details can be found elsewhere on this website or in the 'News'.
Happy Sevenandaquartering!
Frank Sidebottom (Committee Member).


Joined: 9-08-09

Topics: 14

Replies: 106

Posted: Fri 23rd Dec 2011, 5:48pm

We have cut back on our portable events. Unless you can get agreement to a minimum fee then you can take anything from a few pounds upwards. We need 3 or 4 trailers plus cars and its 2 hours to set it all up. To then take £30 is just not worth it.
We ask £150 for charitable events or £200 for commercial people, then split the "profit" 50/50.
Too many school want you for nothing!
Frank Cooper


Joined: 1-01-89

Topics: 9

Replies: 169

Posted: Fri 23rd Dec 2011, 10:45pm

We stopped doing portable tracks years ago at Sheffield because of the hassle, the difficulties outlined above and the low income. I think it's better to open your home track on a few extra days instead!


Joined: 1-01-70

Topics: 1

Replies: 31

Posted: Fri 23rd Dec 2011, 10:58pm

I agree with all the others, except when I ran them years ago, I would also ask for a deposit to cover our costs. On the day we would hand over the balance providing we took more money. Otherwise on a wet day you are spending petrol & your time setting up for nothing.
We felt it was up to them to insure against bad weather, or poor attendance etc. There were always far more events offered than we could attend, so we only did ones where we could give something back. Also we restricted ourselves to a limited number, because it wasn't fair on our small group of helpers who had families & jobs.
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