There are many model engineering societies within a half hour drive of Nottingham. Erewash is one of them and one of the smallest.
Nigel Thompson invited me to visit the club while at one of the Myford spring open days. The only time I could manage to visit was on Saturday afternoon after the Myford show was over.
A chat with Pete Thomas of Polly and all was arranged. Saturday afternoon, I visited Pete’s house and after a welcome cup of tea, Nigel Thompson arrived to take us to the club.
First impressions were that the site was of a reasonable size with a large amount of track. The site is at the end of a short lane and appears reasonably secure with the only way in guarded by an old folk’s home. No matter what time of the day or night, wave at the windows of the old folk’s home, the curtains will move and someone will wave back. Any out-of-hours trouble at the track and the old dears will be straight on the phone to the police. This is better than a pair of Rottweilers.
Pete and Nigel explained that the club actually owned the land, which I am sure must give peace of mind to the club considering the number of clubs I hear about being turned off their club site because of development.
The ground level track is comprised off 3 1/2in., 5in. and 7 1/4in gauges including several multi-gauge points. There is also a raised track inside the ground level ovals together with several steaming bays. The steaming bays can accommodate a lot of people as has been discovered on the odd wet open day.
There is vehicle access into the grassy area inside the tracks, which is ideal for open days etc. Future building plans include a carriage shed.
The ground level track is basically two ovals, one oval inside the other with one track going through a tunnel and the other track going over the top of the lower one. This means the outer track is on the level halfway round then becomes the inner oval back to the start but on the inside track and then goes up a steep gradient, over the level track and back down a steep gradient as the outer track to the start point.
The long tunnel was dug by hand by the members and must have involved a lot of hard work.
To the right of the track layout, as you face it from the end of the loop, there are some points and a turntable which appears of fairly recent construction.
In the right hand corner is an outbuilding and lean-to that houses the generator (there is no mains power to the site) and the large brazing hearth where members can build their boilers.
There is a nice cosy club house just inside the loop, sufficient to hold quite a few members in comfort. The hospitality was good and although I turned down the offer of a cup of tea, I accepted, and enjoyed a rock cake.
There is a signal box on site and the entire track is correctly signalled. A large footbridge crosses the track to allow visitors access to the centre of the site without walking across the tracks.
The clubhouse has a small tower to take a clock (normally a 1.5volt battery driven clock) and a railway related weathervane. Although the site is much smaller than Ruddington (the main Nottingham track) the entire site is well laid out and it was a joy to visit.