It all began six years ago, when a group of enthusiasts started work on an ambitious new model railway.
Piece by piece, building by building, the impressive layout – housed in the old Rock Village Hall – has taken shape.
It’s not finished yet, but the dedicated members of the Alnwick Model Railway Club (AMRC) are seeing their hard work pay off.
The project is truly a labour of love and the miniature railway, which is 10 metres in length, boasts a main station with seven platforms, which is partly under a town centre. The tracks approaching the station become visible from under a bridge and pass an engine shed and goods yard.
At the other end of the layout, a line runs to a model colliery, which will have moving features once finished.
The layout is set in the 1950s/60s and features steam and diesel locos. It comprises OO and N gauges and is DCC (Digital Command Control) operated, allowing multiple trains to run at any one time.
There are two areas of the set – Rock Town and Rock Junction. Rock Town is a hive of activity, with shops, a hotel and a church, among other things. The majority of the high-quality buildings are made from scratch and designed from cardboard.
They say the devil is in the detail and this is certainly true of AMRC’s layout.
A closer look at the set includes some fascinating features, such as characters changing a bulb at the station, a truck crashed into a pole and even a sprightly youth leaping over a bollard.
In a quirky touch, the shops in Rock Town are named after those who have been involved with the club.
Then there’s the Hayes and Weston Brewery – named after Mick Hayes and Paul Weston who helped build it.
As part of the railway’s imaginary world, the derelict brewery has been set on fire by vandals. A work in progress, members are making it look like the building is actually on fire, complete with a smoke effect.
The club meets in the old village hall each Wednesday, from 7pm. Members also work on the display during the daytime, either at HQ or from home. On the second Wednesday of the month, the club holds a running night, where members down tools and use the set.
A couple of times a year, AMRC holds open days; the next one being Wednesday, May 30, from 2.30pm to 8pm, and admission is free.
While the model railway is well under way, the club – with members from around mid and north Northumberland – is on the lookout for more helpers.
AMRC chairman Jim Kirtley said: “We have 12 members, mostly older men, and we would like to attract younger people to learn modelling techniques and to bring fresh concepts to the layout.
“We have people with quite different abilities. You’ve got the cardboard man, for example, while others are good at electrics. Members have different skills and interests and each one contributes to the project.
“It is great being part of the club; friendship and a lot of enjoyment and we are very proud of our model railway.”
Anyone interested in getting involved or seeing the railway is encouraged to visit on Wednesday, from 7pm.
AMRC’s website: www.alnwickmodelrailwayclub.co.uk