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History of NWMES & CWMR
1960s - The Early Years
The NWMES was founded in the early 1960s by a small band of enthusiasts interested in the building and running of miniature steam locomotives. The land was leased and a small loop of track, with a steaming bay, was constructed on the present site at Coate Water Country Park, Swindon, Wiltshire in 1965. In the early days there was nothing else on the site and everything, including water had to be brought to the track for each running session.
The original oval track of approximately 200 feet in length was raised and included both 3.5" and 5" gauge rail. In the late 1960s a larger track was laid at ground level on a gravel base; this was later laid onto concrete and securely fixed.
1980s & 90s - Changing Tracks
In 1980 the 3.5" track was removed and 7.25" rail added. Two tracks were added to the station area, with a motorised point to direct the trains into either platform. The clubhouse was started in 1983 and officially opened by the mayor in 1984, with water and electricity in situ rather than as previously hauled to the site, along with coal, for every running day. To complete the funding for the clubhouse a club locomotive, Nigel Gresley, was sold to one of the members.
Major track extensions between 1990 and 1993, in two stages, were undertaken with considerable help and support from Thamesdown Council. The final layout, including the bridge, is more or less the current running configuration. A second steaming bay, carriage shed and brick built signal box were constructed about the same time and are still in use today, although have been supplemented by the extended 12 road original steaming bay and new carriage shed.
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