May 6, 2024

Build and own your own working train

Just outside Dereham, at County School station, there is a miniature railway world. Owned and operated by the North Norfolk Model Engineering Club, the Wensum Valley Miniature Railway moved here in 2020.

With the support of the Mid Norfolk Railway, the Club laid out a design for their 1600 foot long track, alongside the original and now disused railway line. It has taken nearly four years of hard work by volunteers, designing every element and machining many of the parts themselves before erecting the elevated track on concrete pads.

“The concrete pads are essential, “ explains volunteer Steve Self. “The track has to be completely level.”

The miniature rail layout is dual-gauge, meaning it can take either 3.5” or 5” engines. Some of the trains are battery driven and some are steam driven. All have been hand-built by enthusiasts.

Ayden Davies showed us the inside of the engine that he built himself, partly based on kit parts and partly his own design. It has a single battery with four motors underneath. A sound chip provides the engine noise through a loudspeaker. It can be driven forward or in reverse and can easily pull a couple of carriages with 3 or 4 passengers aboard.

Ayden’s train is a replica of a National Coal Board engine, but he designed the colour scheme and painted the very smart livery himself. Ayden is studying engineering on a Pre-Apprenticeship course at college. But building his own engine has given him real world experience of mechanical, electric and electronic engineering, maths and problem-solving alongside his course.

free bus service from Dereham 12 May

The miniature railway re-opens to the public on 12th May, with a display of members’ work and engines, as well as rides on the miniature railway line – and not forgetting tea and cakes in the County School station!