When the land from our club house in Bury St. Edmunds was required for development in the 1970's, a railway-minded farmer offered the use of a pig shed on his farm in Drinkstone for a nominal rent. The members turned the bare room into a functioning clubhouse, complete with lighting, tea-making facilities and, using parts of the original layout, built a new 30' x 20' one representing GER action in East Anglia during the 1960's, and featuring two large termini, a through junction station and two smaller branch line stations. The layout was worked into a sequence, through a fog of cigarette smoke and the sequence would take many weeks to complete.
Photographs of the layout appeared in the Railway Modeller in the late '70's and was used for some years in Peco's advertising literature. Much of the building and club-owned stock were the work of the late Norman Willis, the club's first treasurer in 1949. Norman was a Great Western man at heart, having been born in Swindon, but he also had a great love of the Great Eastern and the wonderful depiction of Bury St. Edmunds Station (our Abbotsford), with it's imposing lift towers, was his work. Sadly, as there years passed, the membership numbers declined to the point that there were not enough people to run the sequence and it was decided that alterations be made to convert the layout into a folded figure-of-eight design, albeit retaining three of the termini, so that the dwindling membership could still run trains. By this time smoking had been banned and we joined the land fit and healthy. Over the past years, the club saw an influx of new members, (45 at the present time) to the extent that we ran out of space. Our Honarary President and landlady very graciously allowed us use of an adjoining barn, which has been converted, by the members themselves, into a wonderful new clubroom.
We now have three rooms:
- Room 1 - This has our N Gauge test track and a large OO track, which is currently being added to and re-worked
- Room 2 - Has a seating and kitchen area along with bookshelves and workbenches