New Model Railway Centre
Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre
Images of the Old Railway Works during initial site clearing
Introduction by Cliff Parsons and the Gresley Beat team
“The time has come”, a fat controller said, to think about the future of our hobby. With this in mind I have been speaking to many modellers, including some high profile ones, up and down the country with a view to creating a centre on the lines of the National Railway Museum, but featuring railway models. This came to a head some twelve months ago when two young boys were looking at our traction engine, one said to the other “What is that black stuff ?”, we all agreed that something must be done to educate these youngsters into what made Britain Great, the answer is coal, providing steam power.
We have been working behind the scenes to develop for the nation a centre of model railway excellence. Now we are in a position to announce that we have been offered the opportunity to purchase the old Klondyke works site, of some two and a half acres, which is part of the Ashford station complex and only five minutes walk from the main Ashford International Station. This will enable us to erect a 30,000 sq ft purpose-designed building, comprising of 25,000 sq ft of display area, lecture and demonstration theatre, specialist model shop, first-floor cafeteria overlooking Ashford Works and second-floor observation deck enabling visitors to watch Eurostars travelling over the viaduct at 160 miles per hour.
This is the team behind the AIMREC project (pictured left to right, Martin Coombs, Rupert Brown, Albert Walton, David Austin and Cliff Parsons). To give an insight here is some background information about the team. Cliff Parsons, over 50 years of modeling experience and is the creator of the OO layout ‘The Gresley Beat’. Rupert Brown, City of London IT Architect, ALSRM Hon Secretary and part of the operational teams for the annual York Model Railway Show and Warley National NEC show. David Austin, IT and Business Project Manager, modeler of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway in O gauge, student of military history and the role of railways in times of conflict. Albert Walton, not a modeler but a Construction Consultant and Project Manager, founder of the Kent Construction Focus Group. Martin Coombs, Graphic Designer, modeler of narrow gauge railways in 7mm and 16mm scales. David Stratton (not pictured), Chairman of the Kent and East Sussex Railway during the early years.
The team would like to thank everybody who has offered support and donations so far.