Friday, 31 December 1999

In the Beginning

It all started one evening in the summer of 1999 when a knock on my workshop door revealed a small 10 year old lad by the name of Michael, the son of a neighbour. Standing there with a large smile and clutching a tatty cardboard box, which I later ascertained contained the remnants of an old battered Triang Goods Train Set, he said to me "Do you think you could help me put my train set on a board and get it working again". Well me being me we settled down together and over a few weeks and more than a few visits to the second-hand toy stall on our local midweek market we had a small but presentable layout complete with scenery, A and B cab control as well as two more young but willing helpers, Michael's older brother Ashley and his younger sister Gamma.

The deep interest in OO scale model railways that been lost and forgotten some 15 years or more ago following an industrial accident, which left me relying on the use of a wheelchair, came flooding back. After the purchase of a few copies of the Railway Modeler it became apparent that a visit to the Model Railway Exhibition that we read was to be held just up the road at Doncaster in the February of 2000 was very much needed to bring me up to date on the developments that had occurred within the hobby over the last 15 years. With the promise of a few days holiday made to the better half, my lady wife Margaret, an arrangement to visit the exhibition was settled. On arrival it became very apparent that wheelchair users could not very easily get to the front or indeed if you could you could not see the exhibits owing to the height of the layouts. So after only a short time I started to feel a bit claustrophobic owing to the large crowds.As we started to make our way to the exit with the intention of returning home, Fate played its hand, and as we turned round one of the corners we came face to face with the G.R.S. stand (Garden Rail Specialist) which immediately draw the remark from Margaret "Why don't we build in the garden". Well I ask you, does a bloke need telling twice, so I responded before she could change her mind with the purchase of the video "Railways in your Garden" followed rapidly by half a dozen or so back numbers of Garden Railway magazine I spotted on another stand. Before leaving the G.R.S. stand an order was placed for their new catalogue that was to be available in the coming March. The journey home that only takes about 40 minutes seemed to take forever just because we now owned a video on garden railways and was very impatient to view it all the way through. I think we viewed it eight times that night and have viewed it numerous times since. We have spent many happy hours viewing, reading and discussing the way forwards.Following these many hours and reams of paper used we have finally come up with a plan of action. This is in the form of a three year plan which following all good business practice containing costing, work scheduling, gauge and construction methods. The gauge took a while to settle on but the final decision was 15mm to the foot running on 45mm track and the motive power was to come from the track, using the LGB system as well as radio controlled battery powered engines. This to be of various designs, as a fixed time scale or place was not envisaged.
        I feel that now may be a good time to explain the site available more fully and also the type and name for this new creation. My career has been over 30 + years in the design, manufacture and sales of moulds used in the concrete garden ornament industry and as such has led to a large range of finished garden ornaments for sale to the general public in and around the gardens of my home village of Tuxford, so it was felt that the first stage of the development should be this area of the property so as it may encourage more visitors or indeed allow children of visitors to be entertained while their parents where free to browse and hopefully make a purchase.

     Now as-for a name, after a lot of discussion with friends, neighbours and customers. It was put to the new board of management, the wife, that the G.V. R. seemed most appropriate, GNOME VALLEY RAILWAY. As a reader of Tolkens,  The Lord of the Rings, a story line built up around Gnomes seemed obvious.

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