Edinburgh and Lothians miniature railway club makes desperate plea for new home

A miniature railway club could be coming to the end of the line after almost 70 years due to ongoing struggles of finding a new home in the Capital.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 5:00 am
Members of the Edinburgh and Lothians Miniature Railway Club are facing eviction now their clubhouse has been sold at auction

Edinburgh & Lothians Miniature Railway Club has up to 30 members with an age range from 15 to 88, all with a shared interest and passion for the railway.

The group, which was founded in 1951, meet twice a week at its lock up base off Piershill Terrace to carry out a mixture of tasks with building, painting, electronics and joinery involved.

The lock up has been the club’s base since 2001 with the landlord offering a cheap £150 per month rent in exchange for keeping it in good condition.

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But, without their knowledge, the landlord has sold up to a new owner who plans to redevelop the site - leaving the club in desperate need for a new home.

Gary Patterson, 34, who has been involved in the club since 2006, told the Evening News: “We sent our rent through cheques and one day we were sent a load of them back. It turned out the land had been sold by auction last year and we didn’t even know.

“We got a letter from the new owner at the end of last year stating their intention to redevelop the site and that we had a year to find somewhere else.

“It would be such a shame to have to stop running and we are hoping it won’t have to come to that.”

With a limited budget and many members relying on public transport, finding a new venue has proved a difficult task so far.

The club is now appealing to members of the public for help in locating a new premises to keep it on the right track.

Gary, a father of three, said: “We’ve tried across the Lothians for a new property but nowhere is as cheap as where we are.

“It is not clear what our future is. A place in Granton Harbour were charging £1,200 a month which is just not viable.

“We need somewhere which is fairly central and easy to get to with a lot of our members using the bus to get to meetings.”

The club still has loyal members who have been on the books since its inception 68 years ago.

Gary said it is vital for the club to have a future and has admitted they may have to join forces for this to happen.

He added: “It was my uncle who got me into miniature railway and I enjoy being part of the Edinburgh & Lothians Miniature Railway Club.”

“We have members who have been with us since the start. One is an ex British signalling engineer.

“One guy brought his grandson’s train down last week and we were able to fix it for him.

“We may have to consider contacting other clubs such as the Thistle Modelmakers Model Railway Club is Dalkeith to seek a way forward.

“None of us want to see this club just end in this way, which is why we need help. I’d urge anyone with some space to please get in touch.”

People can go online to www.elmrc.org.uk or call Gary on 07534418205