Railway enthusiasts have had the perfect way to while away their dark winter nights in Sleaford.
The Sleaford Model Railway Club has been running for almost three years and, now established, members are well on with plans for hosting their first exhibition.
The club was started by chairman Norman Phillips of Sleaford who had been a member of a model club down in Royston, Hertfordshire for 28 years.
Members have already completed a narrow, ‘N’ gauge, layout and are close to completing a larger ‘OO’ gauge configuration, loosely based on the Compton area near Southampton, complete with landscaping, buildings, people, vehicles, bridges and even a crashed light aircraft.
The whole board comes apart in sections and the club’s running nights are ideal for fans who may not have their layouts at home. The club members are already planning a further layout, based on a narrow gauge mountain railway.
The club has grown to 15 members, aging from 20 to over 80. They bring a variety of skills and interests, as the project requires carpentry and electrical know-how for the scenery and track connections. Although predominantly men, the club welcomes women, having had a young engineering student in the past.
Norman said: “We are a fairly relaxed bunch with a common interest. It can be a learning process with people doing as little or as much as they wish. Some are happy just to watch and enjoy a chat, a cup of tea and a biscuit.”
Historically a bonding exercise for fathers and sons, it now has to compete with computer gaming, but Norman said there is plenty of gadgetry to get your teeth into with modern layouts, including locomotives equipped with microchips for individual commands, lights and specific sound effects.
Club member Zak Harding of Horbling has been into model railways from an early age. He said: “My first locomotive as a boy was the Flying Scotsman for my 11th birthday and I was hooked.”
He heard about the club from a friend and volunteers with a model club at Nene Valley Railway.
They have been planning their first annual exhibition, with one or two of their layouts on display and inviting other clubs to bring around 10 working layouts to be on show, plus trade stands. They are keen to develop links with other clubs for visits.
The exhibition will be at Osbournby on June 25, 10am-4pm, admission £4. For details call Norman on 07772 001005.