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The club was formed in 1972 by Mr. J Perrier and some like minded enthusiast with a common interest in engineering and small-scale live steam locomotives, in particular 3.5" and 5" gauge.  The inaugural meeting was held in a village hall in Ferndown.  This later lead to the creation of the Ferndown Society of Model Engineers. The name was changed to Wimborne District Society of Model Engineers once a permanent site was found.

The original group of members started making regular visits to local fairs and fetes with a portable track to raise some well needed funds.  This also gained them additional members to help with future plans.

The first objective of this new group was to find a permanent site on which a small railway could be constructed for them to use their steam locomotives and continue to give rides to the public.  Wimborne Council were approached with an offer to build a track in one of the local recreation grounds, but this was rejected along with an area of land next to a car park.  Not to be disheartened the members continued their hunt for suitable land in the area.  Luckily one of our founder members Mr. Roy Tier was a good friend and colleague to Sir Alan Cobham ' chief executive' of Flight Re-fuelling in Wimborne, a company world renowned for its innovative air to air re-fuelling systems.

It was during 1975 after talks with Sir Alan that he kindly offered our present site on his new social club land.  Roy Tier was part of the committee put in charge of running the social club and its design.  Roy himself had built a steam loco so he had a vested interest in the project.  The site we occupy today was originally planned to be tennis courts for the social club to add to the activities for the workers.  Luckily this never materialised, and the area of land was handed over to WDSME.

In the beginning the site was completely overgrown with brambles and rubbish which had to be cleared before any design could take place. This was carried out by a hardy bunch of volunteering members working constantly to prepare the land.


Plans were drawn up and construction started in haste.  Another of our founder members was Mr. Mauri Ilott of 

 M & J Ilott engineering in Merley Lane, Corfe Mullen.  He agreed to use his factory to build the track panels.  Here the first track panels were put together in specially made jigs, half inch square steel bar was welded onto flat steel plate, painted with red oxide (straights and curves)  The points were made separately with no jig as the original track started as 5 inch gauge incorporating 3.5" gauge which made the points very interesting to design and construct so meticulous measuring was carried out and a jig was found to be too complicated.

The first panels of track were laid in 1976 and a full loop was completed by 1977 with all the main work being carried out every Sunday.

The track has now been on the ground for 45 years and in that time only a small amount has had to be remade because of rust. A true testament to the original members who came up with the whole concept. 

The club has continued to evolve with many new structures being added over the years.

On the station sits our waiting room previously our clubhouse.  This originally was used as a plate layers hut from Wareham station, but now holds a record for being the oldest structure on our site.  The signal box was constructed using old, reclaimed bricks from Poole railway station down platform in 1989 both items were given to us for a small donation to a railway charity.  Today's society has been very successful in securing five lottery grants from 'Awards for All' to support our larger projects. This started in 2006 with the construction of a new clubhouse.  Having this type of funding has meant the club has been able to move forward in many areas that are not always possible running on donations.

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