12 members and friends met at the home of the Mid Cheshire Society of Model Engineers (MCSME) near Northwich, our first visit to this site since they moved from their nearby Pettypool site (which closed 30 Oct 2011). The group received a very warm welcome, including drinks and biscuits, during an initial workshop and carriage shed visit. Before long 'Vivien', a 7¼" 0-4-0 narrow gauge saddle tank arrived and participants rode round the 390yd mixed 5"/7¼" gauge ground level circuit which runs through the delightful Sandiway Wood. The route was designed to avoid certain trees; at one point an extra riding vehicle was attached to accommodate some 'normal' passengers! Meanwhile a 5" gauge tank engine was steamed up on the now complete 3½"/5" gauge raised track. This is very solidly built on numerous concrete plinths with foundations connected by concrete segments all braced by metal work, and should last many years. The elevated circuit (not in public operation) doesn't run often and like many such lines the run was exhilarating. Two 'specials' gave the party a trip on the very rare ground level Woodside station avoider, apparently the first passenger train to run along it and over both sets of points.
In the workshop was an impressive and comprehensive collection of machine tools to work on locos up to 7¼" gauge and traction engines up to 6" scale. Providing such a facility for their members is a credit to the efforts of the MCSME. Those who wished could very comprehensively traverse the turntable connection and various sidings, into the workshop, loading line and steaming bays by people power.
The MCSME even adapted a riding car for 'bench-surfing' (in a horizontal position) the final bits of track to the extremity beneath the workshop benches.
Public trains run at this very friendly railway Sunday afternoons 12.00 to 16.00 from Easter until late October with fares by donation.