After months of form filling, weeks of organising, and days of preparing – the day was upon us! Tom had started the day off in spectacular fashion by getting the record attempt on the Chris Moyles Show on Radio 1….though it was not as straight forward as that! Tom thought it was a sensible idea to pull over rather than drive and talk on his mobile, so he he duly did…. however, what he didnt realise, was that the traffic police were about 100 yards behind him! Tom’s phone rang just as the policeman knocked on his window, when Tom quickly explained and the officer got into the back of his car. Chris Moyles couldn’t believe what had happened and wanted to speak to the officer! A hilarious episode!
The building of the track started at 9 AM sharp by a team of builders (of all whom work in our warehouse back at Bigjigs HQ) in order to complete it by 4 PM!
What we were essentially asking the guys from the warehouse to do, is to crawl on their hands and knees for over 2km’s (though we did provide kneed-pads – which were largely left unused)… So they came up with new methods of transporting and laying the track… The reasons for doing this record attempt was to help raise awareness about the Bigjigs Toys/Rail brand but also to raise money for two very worthy causes: Demelza House and the Locomotive Restoration Fund. If you haven’t heard of either, here is a snippet about them both: Demelza House – Children’s hospices that support children and young people (0-19_ who are not expected to reach adulthood, and offers support to their families. The majority of children and young people are suffering from degenerative in nature and progress over many years. This means that children’s hospices have the opportunity to offer children, young people and families the chance to build memories as a family unit, undertake a range of activities that are age and needs specific that they may not ordinarily be able to access. We chose Demelza Houseas it is a local charity and we felt it was a great cause to help out, given the financial hardships lots of charities currently face. We invited some of the children and carers from Demelza House to come and see our track being built and to enjoy The Dockyard itself.
Locomotive Restoration Fund– exactly what it says on the tin, a fund which helps towards the restoration of locomotives. As trains are one of our passions we thought it would be a great idea to help towards the restoration of one of the Chatham Dockyard Locomotives. We were lucky enough to have one of the locomotives parked outside the entrance to the record attempt – in which the poor Chatham guys had to dig the points out (taking two days) because they hadn’t been used in 12 years!!!! During the day we were lucky enough to have lots of distinguished guests throughout the day, helping to verify the record attempt (oh…and help clear the mountain of cupcakes Sharon and Carol bought!):
Throughout the day we had various other things going on including our Bigjigs play area – filled with many wonderful toys including train sets, heritage playsets, baby bigjigs and much more! We also had a colouring competition – where children could colour in a Bigjigs Train and be in with the chance of winning a Bigjigs Rail Set! We had over 75 entries – some of which can be seen here:
At around 3 pm we were nearing the finish line – with plenty of people cheering us on. I must say that the crowds that came and saw us were fantastic, cheering us on and being really supportive! We couldn’t have done it without you…. well we could have but it would have been much more boring!!
We had built so much track that we had pretty much run out of the straight pieces (plus we had reached the end of the carpet)…! So after 7 hours of continuous building … 14 shattered Bigjiggers, 8 carpet burned knees (builders), 8 unused knee pads…., a superb amount of donations, lots of TV, Radio and Press Coverage, copious amounts of eaten cup cakes…oh, and over 10,000 pieces of track – we had completed our record attempt for the Longest Wooden Toy Train Track!
NOW… for the all important measurement – using a ‘disto’ laser and surveyors wheel: We had two surveyors measuring the track – at about 500 metres they had to stop and start again…due to a large discrepancy. However after restarting again, the measurements were barely millimetres apart, and it wasnt long (well about 40 minutes) till we overtook the current record:
add another 10 minutes and we had reached our target of 2012 metres!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOO!
But wait… it didnt stop there! As we had used all of the pieces we had bought with us there was still more track to measure…
Not only had we reached and obliterated the current record of 1650.14 metres… we had also reached and smashed our target of 2012 metres… reaching a grand total of 2196.5 metres!!! Naturally we were delighted to reach such a feat – after an exhausting day it was all worth it in the end! The only task left was to push one of our trains from one end of the track to the other… this may take a while (actually I think Tom is still there pushing it around!)
All in all, the day was a HUGE success and we would like to thank everyone that supported Bigjigs Rail before, during and after the record attempt!
To get a sense of scale of the task we achieved – have a look at this!