Gallery: Full steam ahead as church’s model railway show becomes regular fixture

The Revd Martin Dawes with his model train lay out at Woodbridge Methodist Church during the Toy and

The Revd Martin Dawes with his model train lay out at Woodbridge Methodist Church during the Toy and Model Train Show.

The pews were transformed into platforms and hymn sheets were discarded in favour of timetables as a church was transformed into a model railway network.

Reverend Martin Dawes opened up Woodbridge Methodist Church, in St John’s Street, to model railway enthusiasts from around the country on Saturday.

“We had 12 different layouts on display,” he said. “And we used the entire ground floor of the church, we had sets in the church itself, and the hall and we even had one in the vestry.

“We had about 250 people, and lots of children too. Some travelled a considerable distance to see the show, including many from my old circuit in Bedfordshire.

Explaining how his passion for trains developed, he said: “My father was a railway man, we grew up going everywhere by train so I have always been interested.

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“I started with a clockwork set when I was about eight and one thing led to another.”

The minister, who now collects O Gauge railway equipment, set up his own Leeds Model Company set at the weekend, to the delight of guests.

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The show was run in partnership with the Train Collectors Society, of which Revd Dawes is a member.

“It was through a fellow member of the society that I started an exhibition at a previous church, that took place every two years and it is still going.

“When I moved here there was nothing in Woodbridge so I saw it as an opportunity to step up.”

The first show took place two years ago, and Revd Dawes hopes it will now be a regular fixture in the church calendar.

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