Wokingham’s historic railway station bridge wins awards – in miniature

A UNIQUE project to recreate the bygone age of steam railways in Wokingham has picked up a national prize.

Members of the Berkshire Area N-Gauge rail modelling group, which meets at Sindlesham Baptist Church, are celebrating after their scale model of the footbridge over the Waterloo railway line at Wokingham station scooped an honour at the N Gauge Society’s annual awards.

Built by club member Dave Wright, the project is a labour of love and an attempt to create a model railway display that looks like the area around Wokingham Station from the post-war period through to the 1970s.

The bridge, which is being built on a scale of 2mm for every 1ft is a perfect recreation of its real-life counterpart, used by hundreds of people every day. The model is a tiny 12cm wide by 6cm but is identical in every way.

When the society’s diorama is completed, it will be 16ft by 3ft and showcase what Wokingham town looked like before the demolition of the original railway station in 1973.

Working with The Wokingham Society, the group have identified 20 buildings and features from the old townscape that they intend to recreate.

And the ensure that the plans are as accurate as possible, the group have searched for pictorial references of Wokingham town centre as it was 50 years ago, including The Terrace, the old town hall and, of course, the train station itself.

By focusing on the post-war period, it means that members of the group can create a layout that can be used by steam, electric and diesel model trains.

Last week, the footbridge won first prize in the Lineside Structures class, and then went on to win the Best-in-Show award, heading off stiff competition from the other class winners.

The group said that its research has proved that Wokingham’s unique structure, made from old rails and sleepers, is the last of its kind left in the country.

Mr Wright said: “Others of similar design have fallen by the wayside which makes it all the more important that it is preserved for as long as possible.

“St Paul’s Residents Association, Wokingham Society, South East & Chatham Railway Society and the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Panel for Historical Engineering Works together with the local U3A’s interest group are all keen to address this issue.”

The group will be holding a running meeting – where members can run their trains on already completed dioramas – on Saturday, October 20.

For more details, log on to www.bagladdies.weebly.com

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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