When I was a child, my older brother had a train set, but I was never allowed anywhere near it. My Dad used to work on it with him, and they always seemed to be having a great time, but train sets were for boys, and I had dolls to play with. So, add that old-fashioned notion to the fact that we travel everywhere by train. Dad worked for British Rail, so we had free passes all year round. Steam trains were still very much in use, and my burning desire to have a model railway of my own was born.
Fast forward 53 years, all children have grown and flown the nest, and I have a dining room just sitting and doing nothing. Guess where my model railway is!! It’s 10ft x 8ft and is hinged to the wall so that, at Christmas, when all the family descend for lunch, I can fold it up against the wall and hide it behind a curtain. It is the most absorbing hobby, and I love it.
It’s set in the 1950s, so it’s very nostalgic for me. I’m not a purist, so it’s not based on a real place and, no doubt, some of my friends from Fareham and District Model Railway Club would scowl at the incorrect locos pulling incorrect carriages around its three tracks. I freely admit that I know next to nothing about trains except that I love them and thoroughly enjoy a trip out to travel on one pulled by a majestic steam locomotive. My enjoyment comes from the model making and adding scenery. I love making little cameo scenes like the grudge cricket match with the next village, and bowls practice on the village green, and little tiny gardens with veg patches and laundry on the line.
Did I mention that I joined a model railway club? For some time, I was the only woman amongst about 40 men, but we now total four women – our numbers are growing!
I joined with a young man my daughter was caring for, and together, we started building a layout at the club. He has a penchant for collecting odd bits of scrap metal, so naturally, we decided to feature a scrap yard. The layout is finished now and is called “Blott on the Landscape”. Some of you may note the name of the famous book and TV programme. The idea is that the industrial bit is a blot on the otherwise rural scene. This layout is also based on nowhere in particular, and the station sports the name of “Farechester”, a mix of Fareham and Portchester where we live.
Again, it has been great fun making buildings and scenery for this layout and trying to learn a bit about the extensive wiring we used to operate the numerous points along the tracks. I’m very proud that Blott will attend our club’s annual exhibition in Fareham Leisure Centre on 7th & 8th October!!
I’m now helping with scenic’s on a new Children’s Corner layout, which will be fresh tracks for Thomas the Tank Engine and friends to run around, operated by children – both boys and girls alike!!
If you would like to join Bron and other members you can sign up through our website on the Membership Queries Page.
Written By Bron Kirk
Member And Trustee Of Fareham Model Railway Club