Tiny trains will toot again! Model engineering club saved
PUBLISHED: 11:10 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:17 28 February 2020
Model train engineers who were knocked off the rails last year are thrilled their passion has been put back on track.
The North Norfolk Model Engineering Club was left homeless in 2019 after being forced to move from Holt station, where they had taken thousands of visitors on a joy ride with a difference for 16 years.
Now, the club is celebrating after the Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust stepped in to offer them a new venue at County School Station in North Elmham, near Dereham.
Gordon Ford, club chairman, said: "We are fortunate that only being only 12 miles from Holt, our old site, so it remains accessible for our members and it would be lovely to see our regular visitors again at our new venue.
"There is much work to do in planning and re-laying the line but it is exciting too to see things underway."
The North Norfolk Railway heritage line, which owns Holt station, asked the club to move to make space for a new heritage signal box from Reedham Junction.
The club has about 30 members who build and repair miniature steam and battery-electric trains for miniature 3.5 and 5 inch gauge track which can carry three or four passengers.
County School Station was part of a Great Eastern Railway branch line from Dereham to Wells, but was closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts.
The Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust took over the station in 1998.
Richard Cullen, volunteer station master, said: "It is thrilling to think we will be able to see locomotives running again here at County School station after 25 years."
Mr Ford said an updated picnic and play area is planned for development in addition to the new miniature railway line, and there is also a cafe on site.
The club plans to offer rides at County Hall station starting later this year or next year.
In the club's time at Holt station, their trains carried more than 57,000 passengers and saw 91 different model locos on track, covering a total of 6,623 track miles.
Mr Ford said the club and the Mid-Norfolk Railway were both appealing for new volunteers, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to find out more.