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Tiny trains will toot again! Model engineering club saved

PUBLISHED: 11:10 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:17 28 February 2020

Gordon Ford, chairman of North Norfolk Model Engineering Club, which has now found a new site. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Gordon Ford, chairman of North Norfolk Model Engineering Club, which has now found a new site. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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Model train engineers who were knocked off the rails last year are thrilled their passion has been put back on track.

Gordon Ford, chairman of North Norfolk Model Engineering Club, at the club's former site at Holt Railway Station. The club has now found a new site. Picture: Stuart AndersonGordon Ford, chairman of North Norfolk Model Engineering Club, at the club's former site at Holt Railway Station. The club has now found a new site. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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 Model Engineering Club has found a new venue. Driving the green Prairie tank 2-6-2 is club member  Mike Cluely with passengers, Martin Row, and their partners Debbie and Caroline. Picture: The North Norfolk Model Engineering ClubThe North Norfolk Model Engineering Club has found a new venue. Driving the green Prairie tank 2-6-2 is club member Mike Cluely with passengers, Martin Row, and their partners Debbie and Caroline. Picture: The North Norfolk Model Engineering Club

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.

The part of the site at Holt Railway Station which was used by the North Norfolk Model Engineering Club. Picture: Stuart AndersonThe part of the site at Holt Railway Station which was used by the North Norfolk Model Engineering Club. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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 info@mnr.org.uk or northnorfolkmodelengineeringcl@gmail.com to find out more.

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