60 years of model railway

Gainsborough Model Railway EMN-140416-101957001
Gainsborough Model Railway EMN-140416-101957001

The Gainsborough Model Railway Society will be opening the large model railway over the Easter weekend, 60 years after they first did so.

“The society was founded in 1946 and we moved to our current premises, an old school building, in 1949,” said secretary Mick Clapham, who is also the society’s longest-serving member.

“We learnt a lot from building our first layout, which filled one of the rooms in the building, and from an exhibition layout that we built in 1952, which had the distinction of being exhibited at London’s King’s Cross station.

“This included experimenting with replacing three-rail electrification, which was usual for most model railways, with the now common two-rail system, which was cutting edge at the time.

“So, in 1953, we began a new layout, starting with a model of Leeds Central, which we first opened to the public the following year, and then added to the railway each winter, gradually taking over all the rest of the rooms in the building, until we reached Kings Cross and the associated goods yard and City of London suburban terminus a decade later.

“Those early baseboards were often made from what timber was cheaply to hand, including old floorboards, and did not stand the test of time.

“Over the years, all the stations have been rebuilt at least twice and we have changed the names and locations of some of the intermediate stations, but have retained the concept of the line between King’s Cross and the old Central station at Leeds, which closed in 1967.

“When we started out, all the trains between Kings Cross and Leeds were worked by steam and that was obviously what we modelled.

“We did add a few diesel trains as they were introduced, but in the 1960s as steam disappeared from British Railways we chose not to follow suit and our model locomotives, of which we have over 180, mostly hand-built by members, are still predominantly steam.”

The model railway, which needs at least ten people to operate it, will be open to the public at the clubrooms in Florence Terrace, Gainsborough on Saturday April 19 and Sunday April 20 from 1.30pm to 6pm, and on Monday April 21, from 10.30am to 6pm.

Admission is £4 for adults and £3 for children and senior citizens, with a family ticket for £10.