Irvine Model Club – Locomotive Section.

The Locomotive section had its roots back in the early forties when a group of like minded men employed by I.C.I. Nobel Division ,formed a club within the works, Ardeer Recreation Club. Several of the members were building scale models of steam locomotives which they used to take to local functions to raise funds for that group. With the advent of television support dwindled to a few members who kept an interest but only met socially.


During the mid sixties a few new members tried to revive the club and successfully managed to stage “Live Steam Events” throughout the summer months on the clubs raised track. Visitors with their locomotives were made welcome and we had many pleasant meetings entertaining the visitors and the general public. This continued until the Eighties when the factory suffered a severe downturn in business due to the closure of a large part of the coal industry. Ardeer Recreation Club shut down and many of the works staff accepted early retiral.


In 1986 a few of  the remaining enthusiasts joined up with the Irvine Model Club and we have tried to keep an interest in the hobby despite the very few members and changing circumstances within the club. Initially we leased premises adjacent to the ”Ship Inn” until the area was converted to studios, and we were offered space at the “Pilot House” where we spent a good few years and built a ground level track where we entertained the public and treated the children to free train rides.  At this time it was becoming much more difficult to operate a model railway because of the ever increasing compensation culture.  This meant that all modellers had to carry insurance and subject all steam models to a safety inspection and boiler test which is now mandatory if one wants to visit other clubs.


The track round the Pilot House has suffered damage on numerous occasions until finally on the last occasion we did not have sufficient resources and members to repair it. Also with the formation of the “Irvine Bay Development Scheme “and the impending reuse of the area it was consider to be worth spending any more effort on the track.


Since then we have had discussion with the “Maritime Museum” to allow us to construct a portable length of track which can be laid out on a daily basis to allow steam or electric trains to operate with a view to adding an extra attraction to the site. This latest project is only just starting and although we have a limited number of locomotives and rolling stock we have yet to build the track. We would like to encourage more like minded members to come and join us., Model