Final opening of the model railway at Bletchley Park
Milton Keynes Model Railway Society is to welcome visitors to its Bletchley Park facilities for the very last time over the weekend of 30th June / 1st July 2012. With extension of the computing and code-breaking exhibits at Bletchley Park and the need for more exhibition space, there is no longer room to accommodate Milton Keynes MRS and we have to vacate the premises. The Society has improved its displays over the years and has only recently seen the completion of its multi-gauge outdoor layout. Work was also underway on building a new computer operated layout using the latest Digital Command Control system produced by Hornby, using software developed for them by a Milton Keynes company and which is now being marketed worldwide.
Last year the Society welcomed almost 30,000 visitors to its clubrooms and since opening to the public in 1994, our ongoing visitor count reveals that over 233,000 people have visited the attraction. We have also been an integral part of the schools educational visits programme, teaching pupils the important role played by the railways in World War 2 in respect of evacuation and movement of troops and foodstuffs.
MKMRS, founded in 1969, has around 70 members and has had just three homes during its 43 years’ existence. The Club was invited to join the fledgling Bletchley Park museum complex seventeen years ago and has been an integral part of the Park ever since, opening at weekends and during the school holidays operated by club members on a voluntary basis. The Club is well known throughout the country having exhibited as far afield as Cornwall and County Durham and just about everywhere else in between. One of our layouts, Milton Quays, will be attending the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham shortly before we have to leave Bletchley Park on 1 December 2012. MKMRS layouts have also appeared in the model railway press and a number of members have served as officers in national model railway organisations.
Vice – Chairman Chris Hughes said:
“We are now faced with finding alternative accommodation and club members are keen that we can locate suitable premises and carry on. We are naturally disappointed that all our time and effort for the next six months will have to be channelled into removing everything we have installed since we took over what was a semi-derelict building in 1994. Our 2013 exhibition will however go ahead in February and we hope to bounce-back from what is a very worrying situation.”
Chairman, Dennis Lovett, who has been a member since joining the club as a junior on its formation in 1969 said today:
“In addition to relocating our exhibits within the building, most of which are fortunately portable, we have the recently installed garden railway to remove and full size railway signalling equipment to find a home for. The search for new premises has now begun and I do not want to contemplate what will happen to us if we are unable to find somewhere suitable and affordable. It would be the end of another chapter in the area’s rich railway history – one that we have been proud to explain to visitors to Bletchley Park for almost two decades. We are determined to ensure that this is not the end of the line for Milton Keynes Model Railway Society.”
MKMRS had been informed that it would have to vacate its current location as the Park developed but was expecting to be relocated within the Bletchley Park complex as originally envisaged.
For further information please contact: Chris Hughes on 01908 605417.
Issued 19 June 2012
We are pleased to announce that our 2013 exhibition (www.mkmrs.org.uk/exhibitions) will go ahead as planned.