Broomy Hill Miniature Railway!
We had a wonderful day out at the Broomy Hill Model Railway. We chatted to some of the volunteers and young engineers in training who work there.
Broomy Hill is a wonderful place to visit, and we were privileged to be allowed to film there.
If you ever get a chance to go, or you have youngsters who are interested in engineering, trains, or models then take them here!
(disclaimer: we filmed this last year, this is part of the ‘we’re still ill’ backlog)
Welcome To Broomy Hill
My name’s Ewan and I come to the model engineering society in Herefordshire, which also doubles up as the Broomy Hill Railway.
Broomy Hill Railway is a great day out for the kids in the family, we have a different variety of trains from steam to diesel to battery electric as well.
What We Have
We have over a mile of track.
We have a tunnel, a bridge; we also have a great catering facility up at the top serving refreshments. We have everything you would find on a normal railway but smaller.
Public running days are twice a month.
The second and last Sunday of every month.
We also do children’s parties, and we put on a special train.
There’s always something going on here, there’s something for people to look at, so come down and just have a picnic and watch the trains go by.
Because the only thing we charge for is riding on the trains.
We also have the elevated track, which runs three-and-a-half inch gauge and five-inch gauge locomotives; either in steam or electric.
Going on to the smaller scales we have at the top of the site a garden gauge, which is a gauge one, and the locomotives up there electric, gas powered, steam.
There was one running up there that was coal-fired.
If you could imagine gauge one in coal-fire it is very very small.
We have quite a thriving boat club at the moment, so we’re open to all sorts of model engineering.
Everything is controlled from here.
The Signal Box
This is, we reckon, the most important job of the lot.
You can operate, with ease, up to four trains.
All the red levers are signals and all the black levers are the points.
How Broomy Hill Started
My name is John Arrowsmith, and I’m one of the original founder members of the club.
We had nothing when we started, we only had a simple up-and-down track in a members garden.
At that time we weren’t doing public running of any sort, it was just a private member’s Club.
Eventually, we ended up at this site of Broomy Hill, and we have developed it as a miniature railway and a model engineering club to cover all types of engineering in miniature.
If anyone would like to be a member you would be more than welcome and you don’t have to be a qualified engineer.
All the skills that you would need to operate this railway and or build a locomotive, or rolling stock, or any other sort of model engineering, can be passed on here.
There is such a wide range of skill within the membership that whatever you feel you would like to do you can be taught that here, at no cost, that’s the important thing, apart from your membership fee.
Which, for an adult, is thirty pounds a year.
For that, you get the use of all the facilities here, plus the workshops and running days.
And for youngsters, it’s ten pounds a year.
Now you can’t do a lot on ten pounds a year in this day and age.
Another aspect of the club that has developed over the last five-six years or so is the young engineers’ section.
Broomy Hill Reputation
We’ve had visits from other clubs who have come here to see how we get our young people organised.
Now we have had up to ten young people here at any one time being trained.
They’ve all grown up and gone on to do different things, but they still here.
Two of our young people, who have started as twelve-year-olds, have both gone on to get engineering apprenticeships with local companies as a result of being a member of this club.
So there is an opportunity here to do just that.
It’s good value. You get a good education, and it helps for young people when you do your GCSEs and you go for a job.
The Young Engineers
In a way, I kind of feel a bit privileged to learn the skills these people are teaching us here.
They’ve had very engineering based jobs. if I wasn’t here I wouldn’t know how to operate a lathe, how to weld, how to drive a train, how to inspect track. I wouldn’t know anything like that.
And to be quite honest with you, I don’t know what else I’d be doing if this wasn’t here.
I come down on a Saturday and work on some projects, which are more advanced than what we’re allowed to do at school.
So I fulfil my love of modelling down here, and it helps me prepare for later life when I want to get a job as an engineer.
Teaching Young Engineers
I love teaching children, to encourage them to build things using the machines.
It’s all character building.
We do like to have the whole family involved really.
We only live off the money that we bring in from the public, and that’s all gets recycled back into the site.
The club membership is built up from people from all walks of life.
How Broomy Hill Is Funded
Nobody in this club gets paid. We are all volunteers.
It is a hobby.
Nothing else, just a hobby.
And we do it because we enjoy doing it.
All the money that is collected is ploughed back into this club to repair things, make things, and sometimes we do give money to the local charities.
Everything that you can see on it will have been put here by club members.
Building A Steam Engine
If somebody builds a decent sized steam engine, maybe a 7 and a quarter, we’re going to talk about six years to build that.
And then, even after that, they will find problems with it and they’ll all be ironed out.
We operate the railway as a means of attracting families, public, young people, to come and enjoy a ride on a train.
Our aim is to try and generate sufficient funds to keep the place going, as well as providing an outlet for people’s creative ability in building.
And we try and do as much as we can for the local community by having charity days as well.
And it all works very well.
I would encourage lots of different people to come down, whether they’re around – my age 14,
or if they’re even older and just retired.
Come down, and there’s guaranteed to be someone down here who wants to help you with a home project, or you just want to help out with something you want to be a part of.
It’s just a great place to work together.
If you like model-making or trains
come and visit us at Broomy Hill as this place could be for you.