Earlier this year, our chairman presented us with a set of three club magazines from the earliest days of our club.
These led to the writing of this small potted history in the hope that you might find where we’ve come from of some little interest.
On the 10th of April 1958, the Norwich Minature Railway Society was formed, comprising then of twenty-four members was formed.
Over fifty years later, whilst the exact name and the faces involved may have changed we are very much still involved in the business of building layouts and the study of the ever-changing prototype railways.
At the time of our formation however, the total number of layouts we possessed was rather fewer, in those days numbering simply three.
First was an 0-Gauge layout and two locomotives:
GER Class F6 2-6-4T
GER Class J15 0-6-0
Second was the two-rail 00 Tri-ang section, consisting of over twenty locomotives, and all manner of associated stock.
The third and final section consisted of members possessing three-rail Hornby Dublo and Trix, who possessed fourteen locomotives.
The number of layouts present in the modern club has increased considerably to eight, as have the number of scales we possess, but I suppose unsurprisingly the broad outline is still very much recognizable in form as the club that we know today.
Something A Little More Modern?
As I’ve only been a club member for a little under ten years, it’s a lot harder for me to write about things which happened before my time.
On the other hand, in those ten years, we have seen many changes in our hobby.
The most significant of these in my opinion, is the development of DDC- Digital Command Control. Our most complex layout- Brooklands Park uses hundreds of diodes and relays to achieve what a few small DCC chips have done on Acle, but as we’ve also found, DCC can actually be far more problematic than a simple analog circuit.
Is either of these methods better? I don’t know- Each has it’s own set of advantages and skills required to build and operate the resulting layouts, but what is most important is that sharing this knowledge is what this club is all about.
A different, but no less important part of sharing our knowledge and work is the annual model railway exhibition that we hold.
In these ten years, the exhibition has moved between three different venues, but has always had a great deal of support both from members of the public and the trades associated with our hobby. Again, the brands, tools and scales have somewhat diversified from those which were available at our inception, and even for that matter from when I joined the club, but it remains the single biggest event of our year, and one of our greatest sources of income.
The biggest part of any exhibition though is the layouts that attend it- The club’s current exhibition layout is the Swiss H0m Obvervaz, but in past years we have exhibited many others, including the currently under refurbishment Brooklands Park, and Norwich Trams.