The Group was founded in 1966 as a section of The Guildford Model Engineering Society, becoming a separate entity in the 1980’s when the Group obtained its own accommodation at Normandy Village Hall. We have a good-sized secure clubroom for our exclusive use containing modelling facilities and specialist tools. Club nights are held in a meeting room where we erect the club test track bi-weekly for members use. Members also have the use of the kitchen for refreshments.
Around 20 to 30 members regularly attend the club nights where much discussion ensues on railways in general. Help is constantly available on modelling techniques, issues and suppliers with members often helping others to fix problems and get their models running. But above all, the club is about having fun and enjoying model railways.
We are able to erect our large Normandy Junction layout from time to time in the main hall for running sessions known as “play days”. These take place about every six weeks. The play days allow members to run full length O gauge trains on a scenic layout to show members rolling stock off to their best.
The Test Track is erected bi-weekly on club nights for members to run their latest creation or purchase. Also this is available for members to use at other times, for example, we have an American running session once every 3 months for those who are interested.
We have 2 smaller layouts owned by the club. The Engine Shed and Loco Works is a layout to show off locos only which occasionally is invited to other clubs exhibitions. Wendesleigh is under construction and is giving members the opportunity to learn many modelling skills.
All club layouts are stored within the hall environment. Both Normandy Junction and the Test Track are located adjacent to the rooms where they are used minimising the effort needed to erect them. The Engine Shed and Wendesleigh are stored in the club room for easy construction access.
Open Days take place in the spring, summer and autumn at Normandy Village Hall when we operate all our layouts and entertain some visiting layouts. A dozen or so traders normally attend, there is also a “bring and buy” stand and, of course, refreshments are available. Non-members are welcome to bring models to the Open Days to try out them out on our test track. On Normandy Junction, there are no restrictions on what member’s trains are run but we do try to ensure that, when the public are present, credible formations are used.
The club runs its well-known Trade Show in Reading every December. There are usually around 100 traders attending covering all aspects of the hobby. A large “bring and buy” is available for visitors to sell unwanted items. The Test Track is also available to test rolling stock purchased at the show. Club members volunteer for a multiplicity of jobs to ensure success.
As can be seen from the above, the Guildford O Gauge club is very active and offers facilities often not available elsewhere. Subscriptions are very reasonable and are excellent value for money.