The Malden and District Society of Model Engineers was founded in 1936
The society ran a portable model railway track that was often set up for Fetes etc in the area around New Malden Surrey, including Raynes Park, Merton Abbey, and Kingston. Interest was also shown in model boating activities around this time with the boats being operated on the various pond around the Clapham area.
The Beverley Park Miniature Railway
The society started to build its first railway in Beverley Park New Malden which was known as the Beverley Park Miniature Railway, and this was a phenomenal success which started in 1942 as part of the Malden and Coombe Corporation "Holidays at Home scheme".
Two locomotives available for passenger traffic when the line 175ft. long was opened. These were Mr. W Closiers "MAISE" and Mr L.V. Chandlers "MARINA" later, Mr L.S Pinder brought out his large Pacific "LNER 4472". These three locomotives between them hauled about 10,000 passengers during the season which included a "Salvage Drive" - 1 pound of Salvage = 1 free ride at the close. The Railway having proved a success was enlarged for the 1943 season, the Corporation authorised vast improvements which included a fine Railway Station and double the amount of timber for laying the operating Society's line upon. The Society more than doubled the length of line to 400ft. then added a turntable and several service lines and a Water Tower.
Thames Ditton Miniature Railway - 1950 onwarsds
After the War it became desirable to find a site upon which to erect a permanent raised track along with a clubhouse; in 1950 the Society was fortunate to be offered a long term lease on the site at Thames Ditton by the Mr Harry Macey of the Macey family Trust. This site is now our Society's home. The group set about creating the Thames Ditton Miniature Railway
The group was incorporated into a Industrial and Provident Societies Act Company in 1950, thus becoming Malden District Society of Model Engineers Ltd. which is a is a legal entity for a trading business or voluntary organisation. This was done to manage the new lease and new responsibilities gained therein and the operation of the railway. The society built its new facilities and still continues to operate its two separate miniature railways, clubhouse and workshops at its Thames Ditton site.
In 2010, the UK government decided to amend the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts renaming it under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Act 2010. From the outset Malden's 1936 constitution was setup to benefit its community and its members. and these are still our core values today.
The objectives of the Society is to:-
Be a society for the purpose of bringing together people interested in the construction of models, tools & apparatus.
Run and maintaining it's two miniature live steam railways.
Maintain an active membership - currently around 270 members.
To achieve this the Society :-
Provides workshop facilities for the construction and running of the railway,
Provides workshop for building and maintaining steam and electric locomotives, traction engines, steam boats,
and other models for experimental and other purposes.
Provides the railway and its facilities for running of members Steam and Electric and other locomotives,
Provides reference library of engineering; model engineering & miniature engineering books.
Fosters mutual contacts with other clubs and societies.
Promotes social activities, mutual assistance and co-operation between its members.
Promotes lectures, talks and films on model engineering and associated subjects.
Promotes a public awareness of the society locally via pamphlets and by the internet.
Benefits for the Community
Public Open Days
We open each year on Easter Sunday and Monday, then the first Sunday of the month and every Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday until the first Sunday in October. Trains run from 14:00 to 17:30. Admission to the site is free and tickets may be purchased for those who wish to ride on the trains.
Link to Open Days page
This has been a regular event at the railway for at least 45 years or more. On a Sunday afternoon in the middle of June each year we welcome adults and children with special needs, their families and supporters to attend our railway. This free day is a relaxed affair that allows everybody who wishes to ride on the trains to do so. For example, passengers can stay on the trains as long as they wish, this is especially appreciated by those with mobility difficulties. Currently, several special needs organisations and groups attend, as well as numerous individual families. Some groups run their own stalls and tombola during the afternoon to raise awareness and help their own fund raising. The aim of this day is for everyone to have a good day out and to allow the originations to fund raise for their own causes..
Each year in early December we open the railway for our ever popular Santa Special Event. We carry around 650 children and their parents during the day on a train ride to see Santa in his Grotto where each child is able to meet Santa Clause. Santa gives each child a small present before the train departs to complete the train ride to Willowbank station
Joint Days for the Scouts
We share our large piece of ground with the Ditton Scouts who have their own site and buildings and land within our railway, and over the life of the society we have helped the Ditton Scouts with Joint events and fund raisers each and every year.
Link to Exhibitions
The society attends two major exhibitions a year with its members models, showing part completed and finished models. The society uses the exhibitions to promote the hobby, attract new members and promote the society locally and nationally.
A lot of models are produced in members home workshops following engineering drawings and plans and most models take several years to complete.
The two main shows are The Model Engineering show at Sandown Park Esher Surrey normally held in mid December, and the London Model Engineering Exhibition at Alexander Palace North London. held in January each year.
The large society stand above is at the 2012 London Model Engineering Exhibition where the society was awarded the best club stand in show award, by Engineering in Miniature Editor This award is a highly sought after and cherrised by clubs and societies alike. The stand displayed around 80 models from very large to very small models.
The society runs a regular formal engineering class with a workshop tutor in its workshop for members. Members meet to peruse their own model engineering projects which maybe anything from live steam locomotives to internal combustion engines.
As a model engineering society, we cover all aspects of model engineering. However our main focus is on live steam miniature railways and all that its operation and maintenance entails. We have been in existence for 80 years and at our current site since 1948. Our railway is well known and locally it is referred to as the Thames Ditton Miniature Railway, and this is where we operate our two independent railways.
The railway is operated entirely by unpaid volunteers and we hold regular public open days at the railway. Admission to the site is free, single, day and family tickets may be purchased for those who wish to ride the trains.
The majority of the model locomotives seen at the railway are privately owned, being built and operated by its members, however the society does own a number of locomotives banqueted over the years. The society also owns the majority of its passenger rolling stock needed to operate its two railways.
We pride ourselves on our facilities that we have built up over the years, and the service and facilities that we provide for our visitors and members alike. We hope you will be able to visit us during the year and enjoy the atmosphere of the railway and its trains.