Full-sized fun for Corby model railway club as new attraction pulls in
The new unit arrived by road this morning
Model train enthusiasts in Corby have rolled out the red carpet and a new track to welcome a bigger than normal acquisition - a full-sized train.
The unit pulled into the Corby and District Model Railway Society's headquarters, delivered on the back of a low loader today (Tuesday) and watched by interested Kelvin Grove residents.
Once in place, the still-operational 1986 144 Pacer train will provide a stationary multi-function meeting room, canteen and party venue for members, guests and visitors.
Corby and District Model Railway Society chairman Craig Tyler said: "We bought it for £125 but it's costing us £4,500 to transport it.
"We're going to use it for children's birthday parties and they can sit in the cab."
The 15.5m (51ft) train will stand on an 18.2m (60ft) length of track next to the existing clubhouse.
Adaptations to the interior of the carriage will see the seating arrangement reconfigured to make space for tables, whilst the exterior will have steps and a ramp to allow access.
Club vice chairman Francis Rossi said: "It came about one day when I sent a photo of a train photoshopped on to the site saying - 'look what I had delivered while you were away '- it was just a joke..
"It gave us the idea. We were looking to build another room and after costings it was going to cost us £100,000. This has cost us much less. Buying a model of this train would cost you £250 - we got the real one for half of that."
The 24.5 tonne train unit will be left to settle before work begins to transform it into the canteen meeting room. The society's current cafe area will then be used to house a small museum.
Unable to meet during lockdown, members have been busy building new layouts and refurbishing old favourites for display events at the HQ.
Members have been busy modelling at home and are ready to reopen the grounds when Covid restrictions allow.
The outdoor sit-on train will now run anti-clockwise and the signals will be fully automatic ready for reopening to the public.
Mr Rossi said: "At Christmas we hope to have our usual light display. There won't be train rides but people can donate, but it all depends on Covid."
It is not the first time a full-sized train has been at the site. In 1974, a locomotive from the steel works was housed outside the clubhouse but after suffering vandalism was removed.
Founder member of the society, Reiner Tecklenberg, drove the previous train at the works and was on-site to see the new addition arrive.
He said: "I drove the other train at the steel works. When it had to go I never thought I would see this here."
It is hoped that the train will be ready for next year to hire out for birthday parties.
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