A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY
In early 1972 four men met in a pub and decided to see if there were any other people around Aylesbury who might be interested in forming a club for model engineers. They met again in May and nine modellers then formed The Vale of Aylesbury Model Engineering Society. They had no base, and few completed model locomotives, but they built a portable track to take round to raise publicity and funds by giving rides to the public.
In 1975 they accepted an offer from Quainton Railway Society to build a permanent site for a miniature railway at what is now the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. The ground was very rough and it wasn’t until 1982 that they had enough track for a small complete circuit. This donated track, with three gauges, 3 ½”, 5” and 7 ¼”, came from a house called Golding Spring, hence the name Golding Spring Miniature Railway.
Membership slowly built up over the next ten years with an increasing number of passengers and opening days. Eventually they had sufficient funds to think about expansion. During the 1990s the track was changed from aluminium to steel and extended. The original circuit was lengthened to go behind the steaming up bays and then extended to a figure of eight giving a ride 1 km long with gauges 5” and 7¼”.
Over ten years they managed to lay on mains water, mains electricity and eventually a sewer was laid down to the main centre so that a toilet block was also built. The signalling system was upgraded from semaphore signals with wires on scaffolding poles to a three-aspect colour light system with twelve sections. This enables 5 trains to be in operation at once.
To add interest a tunnel was constructed and more buildings so that the 15 passenger trucks and 5 guards vans could be stored safely and serviced properly. In 2012 a new station building, incorporating a kitchen and a large clubroom was opened to replace the old second- hand wooden shed erected many years before.
During the 1990s a Garden Railway, with 45mm and 32mm gauge tracks, was built so that railway modellers could operate their trains and entertain the public. Other items of interest, such as a toy cliff railway and a cable car system which can be operated by children, are also on show.