Olney Model Railway Club - Club History

This is a site for people who want to improve their knowledge of equipment and modelling technique and who would like to join a club of like minded people within the Milton Keynes, South Northants and North West Bedfordshire area.

The Early Years.

PART 1 - 1993 to 1999

1993

In late 1992 four like-minded people first discussed the idea of forming a model club in Olney.
The first official meeting of the Olney and District Modelling Club, which was founded by Mike Oxley of Model World, was held at the Olney Centre on 25 February 1993 and attended by seven interested modellers.

A Club Committee was formed, a draft Constitution and Rules agreed and three sub-sections, namely, Model Railways, Model Boats and Model Aircraft established. Arrangements were made for the Club to meet at the Olney Centre on the last Thursday of each month.

In those early days it appears that attendance was spasmodic and it was left to a hard-core of five or six Members to keep the Club alive.

1994

The first Annual General Meeting was held on 28 April 1994 and plans were put in motion to find a permanent home for the Club. As an interim measure, and to save money, Club meetings were moved from the Olney Centre to Mike Oxley's shop at the bottom of Weston Road.

During the summer of 1994, discussions regarding a permanent home for the Club were held with the Olney Working Mens Club. Agreement was finally reached for the Club to use one of the garages in the old stable block at the rear of the Olney Working Mens Club and the move to the new premises was made in the Autumn.

The first Club meeting at the new premises was held on 30 September 1994 and agreement was reached to build an Exhibition standard layout in OO Gauge, roughly 12ft x 2ft 6ins in size. At the Annual General Meeting, held on 24 November 1994, the name of the Club was changed from the Olney and District Modelling Club to the Olney Model Railway Club (OMRC) as the result of the demise of the Model Boats and Model Aircraft sub-sections.

1995

The plans for the Exhibition Layout were approved in March 1995 and in April it was agreed that the Club would meet on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.
During the following months, Membership increased steadily and works on the Exhibition Layout moved forward with some purpose. The first outing for the layout (Ravenswood Junction) took place at the third Olney Model Exhibition, held at the Olney Centre on 05 November. The day was clearly a success and the layout was invited to attend other local Exhibitions.

1996

Early in 1996 the Club moved to what is now its present home on the upper floor of the old stable block, which provided additional space for modelling activities, storage and small lounge area with notice board.
During the year, Ravenswood Junction was exhibited at Lavendon, Rushden and Olney.

1997

1997 saw the Club establish itself on a firm footing, with Membership reaching 21 adults and two juniors. Club Nights were increased from two per month to weekly and work continued apace on both the original OO Gauge Layout and the new N Gauge Layout (Neustadt), reflecting the strength and interests of the Membership.
It had been planned to hold the first Olney Model Railway Club Exhibition in 1997 but, unfortunately, this did not materialise and plans were shelved until 1998.
During the year, Ravenswood Junction was exhibited at Lavendon, Northampton and Wellingborough.

1998

The first OMRC Open Day and Exhibition was held in the United Reform Church on 06 June 1998 and proved to be a resounding success with approximately 200 visitors on the day. A small profit of £14.07 was realised and many lessons were learned.
Layouts exhibited were:
Neustadt (N) - OMRC
Byfield (OO) - Tim Gregory
Woodcroft (EM) - Dave Smith
Ouse Valley Light Railway (O) - Greg Pettit
Aberdale (OO9) - Dale Gillard
Riffield (3MM) - Colin Cook
Wintersdorf (Z) - Graham Jones
Trix Twin (TT) - John Hatton

1999

The second OMRC Exhibition, held again at the United Reform Church, on 12 June 1999 proved to be more successful with visitors numbers up and a more substantial profit of £210.57 being achieved. Clearly the lessons learned in 1998 had been implemented to good effect.
Layouts exhibited were:
15th Street Yard (N) - Chris Avis
Ayers End (N) - Mark Hobbs
Branscombe St Marys (N) - Mark Haynes
Tatler Road (O) - Peter Stafford
Welland Park (OO) - Kettering & District Model Railway Society
Erichsburg (Z) - Brian & Rosemary Humphries
Ashey (OO) - Nigel Wiggins
Neustadt (N) - Olney Model Railway Club

At the end of the Exhibition, Ashey was purchased from Nigel Wiggins and plans were put in place to refurbish, update and rename the layout.

Unfortunately, the Club was broken into during the year, but no damage was suffered and nothing of value was stolen.

At the AGM, it was agreed that both Ravenswood Junction and Neustadt were too large to transport to Exhibitions on a regular basis. It was decided that Ravenswood Junction would be upgraded and retained for Member's use and that Nuestadt would be dismantled and sold. It was also decided that a new N Gauge layout would be constructed for the Exhibition circuit.




Author: Malcolm Haynes - May 2013




Part 2 - 2000 to 2005

2000

During the latter part of the year, work commenced on the redecoration and refurbishment of the Club rooms, major repairs to the staircase and the provision of a small kitchen and lounge area on the ground floor.
An attempted break in at the Clubroom was thwarted by the 5 lever security lock, which had been purchased and fitted after the previous burglary in 1999.
Construction commenced on a new, as yet un-named, N Gauge layout and Ravenswood Junction remained in-situ to enable Club members to run their OO Gauge stock. Neustadt was dismantled and negotiations commenced to sell the layout to a Club Member, Julian Sharman.

The refurbishment and upgrade of Ashey was completed and the layout was renamed Olney (Weston Road). The layout was exhibited at the OMRC Exhibition in June and also at the Stewartby Show in October.

The third OMRC Exhibition was held, for the final time, at the United Reformed Church on 17 June and although visitor numbers were slightly down on the previous year, a very modest profit of £35.59 resulted.

Layouts exhibited were:
Diseaux (Z) - Danny Davis
George Town Marine (HO) - Nobby & George Clarke
Glen Fiddich (O) - Ralph Nuttall
Mill Ridge (OO) - John Polley
Woodcroft (EM) - David Smith
Erichsburg (Z) - Brian & Rosemary Humphries
High Street (OO) - Stuart Dunkley
Olney Weston Road (OO) - Olney MRC

It was decided to hold regular, monthly Management Committee Meetings to ensure that the Club ran smoothly during the repair and refurbishment of the accommodation.



2001

Work continued on the redecoration and refurbishment of the Club rooms, major repairs to the staircase and the provision of a small kitchen and lounge area on the ground floor.
The new N Gauge layout was named Eagles View and Neustadt was sold to Julian Sharman. Work commenced on the refurbishment of Ravenswood Junction. Olney (Weston Road) was exhibited at Bletchley, Lavendon, Northampton, Desborough and also at our own Exhibition in September.

The fourth OMRC Exhibition was held in the Concert Room of the Olney Working Mens Club (OWMC) on 01 September and proved to be a very successful day with a resulting profit of £195.35.
Layouts exhibited were:
New Chrisdale (N) - Bruce Garwood
Falworth (OO) - George Woodcock
Fenny Stratford (N) - Bruce Garwood
Seaton (OO) - Corby & District MRC
Porthladd Fechan (OO9) - David Lowe
Olney - Southsea (O) - Greg Pettit
Ogle Street Loco (OO) - Kettering MRC
Olney - Weston Road (OO) - Olney MRC
Olney - Midland Road (N) - Mick Gibson
Green Ridge Docks (Z) - Graham Jones

In October, the Secretary of the OWMC wrote to advise us that their Committee intended applying for planning permission to redevelop and sell or rent out our accommodation with a view to raising much needed funds. We immediately began a search for alternative accommodation.

At the AGM it was agreed that we would sell Olney (Weston Road) and use the income to design and build a new OO finescale layout, featuring a continuous run with a mainline theme.



2002

Peter Revitt accepted our invitation to become President of the Club.
The redecoration and refurbishment of the Club rooms continued until we reached the stage where we felt that further work would be pointless if we were going to be required to vacate the building at short notice. We continued to search, without success, for alternative accommodation, whilst we waited for the OWMC to decide on the future of the building.
Olney (Weston Road) was exhibited at Bletchley, Amersham & Chorleywood and Lavendon and then sold to a member of the public following the Stamford Exhibition.
Construction of Eagles View was completed and the layout made its debut at our own Exhibition in September and was then taken to Banbury in October.
The refurbishment and upgrade of Ravenswood Junction continued, albeit slowly.

The fifth OMRC Exhibition was held in the Concert Room of the Olney Working Mens Club (OWMC) on 07 September and proved to be a very successful day with a resulting profit of £176.55.
Layouts exhibited were:
Dounray (OO) - Ian Fellows
Hawkhurst (N) - Mark Haynes
Hampton End (G) - Dale Gillard
Cadeverton (3MM) - John & Gwyn Williams
Willingly (3MM) - David Edsall
Porthladd Fechan (009) - David Lowe
Strachan (OO) - Les Williams
Sands (N) - Chris Avis
Eagles View (N) - Olney MRC



2003

The year turned out to be fairly quiet as we anxiously waited for the OWMC to make a decision on the future of our accommodation. Meanwhile, we continued to search, without success, for an alternative home.
Eagles View was exhibited at Lavendon in April and it was subsequently decided to construct an additional scenic board to extend the layout further.
The refurbishment and upgrade of Ravenswood Junction continued, albeit slowly.
Contrary to what had been decided at the 2002 AGM, work commenced on the construction of a portable 8ft x 2ft OO fine scale layout, which was named Eastwood Yard.

The sixth OMRC Exhibition was held in the Concert Room of the Olney Working Mens Club (OWMC) on 06 September and proved to be a very successful day with a resulting profit of £294.29.
Layouts exhibited were:

Stonebrigg (N) - Peter Johnson
Branston on the Brain (O) - Mick Dale
GWR Helston (3MM) - Keith Gowen
Hohnsteineburg (Z) - Graham Jones
Maesog (009) - Charles Insley
Kirkbridge (OO) - Les Williams
Ketton Castle (N) - Kettering MRC
Eagles View (N) - Olney MRC



2004

Nothing further was heard from the OWMC regarding our accommodation and, in the absence of any news, good or bad, we decided to call off our search for alternative premises.
An extended Eagles View was again exhibited at Lavendon in April, but it was decided at the AGM to withdraw it from the Exhibition circuit due to its delicate nature.
Construction of Eastwood Yard was completed and plans were put in place to exhibit the layout for the first time at our 2005 event. The refurbishment and upgrade of Ravenswood Junction continued.

The possibility of a continuous-run, multi-gauge test track facility was discussed and agreed in principal at the AGM. It was agreed that we would approach Market Deeping MRC with a view to a visit to look at their test track facility.

Sadly, long-standing Member, Peter Fuller, passed away in July following a short illness.

The seventh OMRC Exhibition was held in the Concert Room of the Olney Working Mens Club (OWMC) on 04 September and although visitor numbers were significantly down on the 2003 total, proved to be a financially successful day with a resulting profit of £165.82.
Layouts exhibited were:

Stagsden (O) - Tim Amos
15th Street Yard (N) - Chris Avis
Ronald Road Siding (OO) - Chris Avis
Wolverton Works (O) - Colin French
Boarstall (O) - Ian Fellows
Hogwarts Castle (OO) - Keith Johnson
Standen Watchit (Z) - Graham Jones
Melford (OO) - Anthony and Michael Carless
Eagles View (N) - Olney MRC



2005

The accommodation situation remained unresolved. The OWMC held a meeting with all interested parties to discuss the possibility of putting forward plans for redevelopment of the whole site, subject to attracting substantial funding for what would be a long term project.
Eagles View remained in-situ to enable Club Members to run their N Gauge stock.
The refurbishment and upgrade of Ravenswood Junction was finally completed and the layout was re-sited in the Clubroom to give more space for the Members. Finishing touches were made to Eastwood Yard and the layout appeared in public for the first time at our September Exhibition.

Following a visit by some Members to Market Deeping MRC, an EGM has held in October and a decision was taken to build a multi-gauge (O, OO and N) continuous-run test track facility.

The eighth OMRC Exhibition was held in the Concert Room of the Olney Working Mens Club (OWMC) on 03 September and proved to be a financially successful day with a resulting profit of £174.14.
Layouts exhibited were:

Mill Street Goods (O) - Luton MRC
The Lane (N) - Peter Johnston
Ledsham Street Yard (O) - Colin French
Woodcroft (EM) - John Andrews
Nuffin (N) - Richard Insley
Rowell Sidings (OO) - Peter Dines
Red Rocks Railroad (On30) - Martin Swannell
Petton (3mm) - Mark Haynes
Eastwood Yard (OO) - Olney MRC





Author: Malcolm Haynes - October 2014




This page was last updated on 24 February 2016.


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