A brief history of the Society

The South Devon Model Railway Society was formed in 1968 in the model shop in Victoria Road Torquay owned by George Savage. The society soon began looking for a clubroom of their own as the shop was extremely small. Various different venues were considered including railway coaches or a room at Torquay Station, but nothing materialised and a temporary home was found in the garage of one of the members. However due to problems with a neighbour more permanent premises were sought.

Then in 1974 the society moved to a new large clubroom at Audley Park school where a large OO layout was started. However after only four years the society moved again to a room in Kingskerswell. Although much smaller than the previous room once again a large OO layout was started but within a few years the landlord decided that he wanted the room for other purposes and the only option for the society was to find another home. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the society found a new clubroom in the Church House in Abbotskerswell in 1984, and thankfully we have remained at this location ever since.

At first we only had use of part of the main upstairs room but over time more space has become available and the society now fills all of the main room. We have had several layouts in both N gauge and OO since arriving at the Church House. The first OO layout Kings Norbury was featured in the Railway Modeller in December 2002 and was the first OO layout the club had completed. Since coming to Abbotskerswell the society has been able to hold an annual open day for the public to come in and see the clubs layouts and any visiting layouts in the room below. All the proceeds from these Open Days has gone to the Church House Trustees who look after the building. We have been holding open days for nearly 25 years.

The Society currently has three layouts, two of which are permanently set up in the clubroom, a large U shaped N gauge which is 45 feet long and a OO layout Salterton 20 feet x 14 feet. The third layout is an exhibition layout called Kingdoms Crossing which the Society purchased in 2007 from the North Devon Model Railway Club. This layout is complete and was featured in the Railway Modeller in December 2005 as Railway of the month. Work on the other two layouts continues...