BRC Website Home
Quainton Virtual Stockbook
Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 62 - Spring 1987
VAMES - by John Clarke
This is the first article in what is hoped to be a short series describing the activities of VAMES - or, to be more precise, The Vale of Aylesbury Model Engineering Society. To some people, no doubt, we are the odd group of individuals who inhabit the wilderness at the London end of the Up Yard, who always complain about parked cars blocking our access or the possibility of our wives and families being flattened by one of the full size steam engines which pass by our site. Others, we hope, have a more enlightened view!
Imagine, if you will, the features which might make the ideal railway centre.
Perhaps the first thing to come to mind might be a selection of main line locomotives in pristine running order. A list something like this maybe: Great Central Director 4-4-0, London Midland and Scottish 4F 0-6-0, Great Western Manor 4-6-0, London and North Eastern B1 4-6-0 and a British Railways class 7 Brittania 4-6-2. Then, for modern image fans, a type 5 Deltic, a class 73 electric and a Beyer Peacock Hymek.
Next, think of somewhere to run these locos at full speed - continuously - plus all the back-up and passenger handling facilities. Sounds like a dream doesn't it! Well, not exactly , as this is what we at VAMES have - or are striving towards - albeit in miniature. Our railway may be small, but everything works in the same way as its full size cousin.
Over the last few years the VAMES operation has been steadily developed from the running of our 100-foot portable track and one engine on the down platform, strictly on Bank Holidays only, in to a miniature railway complex with one of the most scenic settings in the South of England.
Our achievements to date have included the construction of cuttings, embankments, bridges and a station, plus a steam operating depot which boasts a traverser and a turntable. 1986 was the first year during which we were able to operate on every Buckinghamshire Railway Centre steaming day.
This winter our developments will include the installation of a passing loop with sidings in the area of our station, with a start on the construction of a permanent signal box and more siding accommodation in the steam depot area. We are also carrying out a programme of fencing refurbishment along the entire length of our track adjoining the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre up side running line.
What of the future? We intend to build a permanent engine and rolling stock shed and a semi-automatic signalling system and tunnel are projected in the next phase of development. It is also possible that one day VAMES could become the first miniature railway connected to BR Network SouthEast, as rumour has it that another platform at our station, with standard gauge track, in addition to our 3½, 5 and 7½ inches, is a possibility!
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 25 November 2017