Step back in time and relive the age of steam at Gainsborough as the town’s Model Railway Society opens its doors once more to the public.
Depicting The East Coast Main Line from Kings Cross to Leeds Central, the building of the present railway started in 1953.
It is now one of the largest ‘O’ gauge model railways of its kind in the country.
The railway covers 2,500 square feet, has more than 1,200 feet of main line track and needs ten operators.
The railway, at the clubrooms in Florence Terrace near Gainsborough’s Tesco superstore, will be open to the public on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend.
Opening times are 1.30pm to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, with an earlier start of 10.30am on Monday. Admission cost is £4 for adults, £3 for children and senior citizens.
And visitors who enjoy their visit and are tempted to join the society can find it a rewarding experience, according to chairman Chris Wragg.
“Like many of my fellow members, I joined the society while I was still at school for the chance to operate a model railway that was far bigger than anything I could ever hope to have at home. “However, in over thirty years of membership, I’ve learnt many skills that have come in useful both at work and home.”
Daniel Wilson from Nettleham, who joined the Society eight years ago as soon as he was old enough to drive over for clubnights says: “Operating the railway every week gives me the chance to be signalman, driver and guard, but what I’ve really learnt from my seven years with the society is the value of team work.
“It takes ten people at any time to run the railway, and everyone depends on everyone else, and that’s something you don’t get with a computer simulation or a model railway at home.”
Secretary Mick Clapham joined sixty years ago as a schoolboy and is now retired after a career as an engine driver on British Rail.
“My main interest is keeping our stock of over 180 locomotives and hundreds of carriages and wagons in working condition, some of which I built myself.
“This involves a lot of delicate work and over the years has meant learning a lot of engineering skills.
“Looking back at all the work I’ve done gives me a huge sense of achievement and confirms that the hundreds of hours I’ve put in over the years have been worthwhile.”
Vice-chairman Richard Woods has concentrated more on the woodwork for baseboards and keeping the building in good order.
“The scope of work we’ve done here goes beyond the DIY most people would attempt at home, and as a team we can make the most of the skills each of us have and learn new ones.
“But none of us is getting any younger,” adds Richard, who turned 70 earlier this year, “and we’re keen to have new members join us so that we can pass on our skills and ensure that the society survives and thrives in the future.
“We welcome junior members from the age of 14, occasionally younger, but equally we’re keen to have more adult members.
“We can always do with a few more people to run the railway, while there’s plenty that needs doing for anyone who wants to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.”
Those interested in becoming a member should speak to a steward at the exhibition, or go along to the clubrooms on Monday or Thursday nights from 7.30pm.
For more details ring Mick Clapham on 01427 616852 or visit the website www.gainsboroughmodelrailway.co.uk.