Arson hit trust tries to rebuild

NRHN 29-10-12 BE 14 Arson attack at the Midland railway centre, Swanwick junction model railway club. Members Barbara and Derek Manning, David Wragg and Paul Archer.

NRHN 29-10-12 BE 14 Arson attack at the Midland railway centre, Swanwick junction model railway club. Members Barbara and Derek Manning, David Wragg and Paul Archer.

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Members of a model railway club destroyed by arsonists are racing to get it open to the public again - in order to get funds rolling in.

Two wooden sheds housing five lovingly created layouts belonging to Swanwick Junction Model Railway Club were burned to the ground last month.

Nearly all of its stock track and model locomotives were destroyed.

The once popular visitor attraction is now temporarily based in the old gatehouse at Swanwick Junction of the Midland Railway and club members are frantically trying to build new displays from handouts so it can open to the public and start to top up its coffers again.

But club secretary David Wragg says each week it is shut the club misses out on vital funds.

He said: “ We used to take 20 or 30 pounds a day on a Saturday and a Sunday. We are just waiting to get our doors open and save all the money we can.”

Mr Wragg said the club is looking to build a new brick facility and would consider looking at Lottery grants to fund it.

But the fire has put it back years and left its future uncertain as such a build would be expensive for a small group.

“I’m 65 now and I should imagine I will be in my 70s before we have a new building.” Mr Wragg said. “I can’t say what’s in the future, but for now we are going to make a go of it.”

Police want to talk to a dog walker who was walking along Penine Avenue, Riddings at midnight on October 28. PC Paul Bower from Ripley police station said: “The trust is funded purely on donations and the damage caused will cost a considerable amount of money to repair.”

If you have any information, call the force on 101.