Our week away was our usual pilgrimage to the ‘New Wine’ church conference, with 12,000 people camping on the Bath & West Showground near Shepton Mallet, Somerset in the south-west of the UK. The Showground is about 5 miles from Pilton, site of the Glastonbury Festival. It has similar views of Glastonbury Tor, but from a different direction. Of course the weather is the typical Somerset micro-climate, often including lots of rain. Fortunately, there is less mud at New Wine, as the Showground has better infrastructure. Still the sun shined nearly all week this year, until the moment we took the tent down and the heavens opened.
However, the point of this post is to describe the miniature railway that is on the Showground, run by the East Somerset Society of Model & Experimental Engineers. They describe themselves like this on their web site:
Founded in 2001, the Society is a relative newcomer in the well-established field of Model Engineering societies. It is based at the Bath & West Showground near Shepton Mallet, Somerset in the south-west of the UK, and draws members from as far afield as Bristol and Yeovil. Members come from many different walks of life and are of varying levels of skill and experience – and all are still learning!
Their interests include locos and stock in 3½”, 5″ and 7¼” gauges (just a little larger than ‘N’ gauge), and they have an extensive line, a lot of which is dual gauge for the larger two scales. Each year at New Wine, ESSMEE open up the railway for the day and offer rides for all and sundry. I’m not really into large scale models like this, but the sound and smell of these little steam locomotives is very evocative of their larger cousins. And it’s rather fun having to wait for the level crossing before crossing the line. I’ve posted a couple of photographs from their web-site below, to give a flavour of the operation. I love the dual gauge trackwork, especially the points. Read more about this little railway at http://www.essmee.org.uk/ .