Our amazing model railway was the brain child of our founder the late David Clarke. Construction of the railway was started in 1977, having been initially situated in a factory drawing office in Mountsorrel. It was designed from the outset to be a technical exercise in the operation of points and signals based upon the Great Western Railway of the 1930's. Both colour light and semaphore signals are represented as realistically as possible, including signals and points operated by mechanical interlocked levers and track circuiting in a near prototypical manner. It first operated successfully from about 1983.
Shortly after forming the charity in 1989 the model railway was taken apart and moved to its present location, becoming one of the Foundation's assets. The layout, built to a scale of 4mm to 1ft, was originally 30ft by 16ft 6". It has been radio controlled from the outset with radio gear fitted along with batteries in the rolling stock behind each locomotive. This, in itself, is quite a unique feature especially for the time of its inception.
During the move to Ulverscroft the layout was extended to a length of 38ft, with new junctions and loops. the 210 lever signal box was changed to incorporate the operation of these additions. It took ten years to put the layout back together to be able to operate it again!
At the same time the radio gear was changed to incorporate digital speed controllers designed for larger scales. The layout has been successfully operated since that time by a small team of volunteers, who meet every week to maintain and operate it. Many of the mechanisms that operate the points and signals are original and can be temperamental; however there is a programme underway for these to be replaced and modernised - a task which due to the size and complexity of the layout will take some years and considerable expense to achieve.
The model railway is self-financing, volunteers pay for all expenses incurred and groups of enthusiasts (and other interested parties) visit the railway to see it in operation in exchange for a donation. The railway is usually operated for visitors on the third Tuesday evening of each month. Pre-booking is essential.