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Bury St. Edmunds Model Railway Club

Club History

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When the land from our club house was required for development in the 1970's, a railway-minded farmer offered the use of a pig shed on his farm for a nominal rent. The members turned the bare room into a functioning clubhouse, complete with lighting, res-making facilities and, using parts of the original layout, built a new 30' x 20' one representing GER action in East Anglia during the 1960's, and featuring two large termini, a through junction station and two smaller branch line stations. The layout was worked into a sequence, through a fog of cigarette smoke and the sequence would take many weeks to complete.

Photographs of the layout appeared in the Railway Modeller in the late '70's and was used for some years in Peco's advertising literature. Much of the building and club-owned stock were the work of the late Norman Willis, the club's first treasurer in 1949. Norman was a Great Western man at heart, having been born in Swindon, but he also had a great love of the Great Eastern and the wonderful depiction of Bury St. Edmunds Station (our Abbotsford), with it's imposing lift towers, was his work. Sadly, as there years passed, the membership numbers declined to the point that there were not enough people to run the sequence and it was decided that alterations be made to convert the layout into a folded figure-of-eight design, albeit retaining three of the termini, so that the dwindling membership could still run trains. By this time smoking had been banned and we joined the land fit and healthy. Over recent year, the club has seen an influx of new members, (45 at the present time) to the extent that we ran out of space. Our Honarary President and landlady very graciously allowed us use of an adjoining barn, which has been converted, by the members themselves, into a wonderful new clubroom.

We now have a seating area with kitchen, library, workbenches and also a layout building room, which currently houses Sumware (a 25' x 2.5' N Gauge layout), a new 16' OO layout, both of which are available for exhibitions, and a small G Scale test track. We are currently installing new lighting and electrical sockets in the pig shed and refurbishing the fixed OO layout. It is hoped that this will be finished and up and running in the not-too-distant future.