Barnhill MRC is a small club that meets at members houses in the Bristol area. We don’t have a fixed meeting time and instead we try to fit club days around members other commitments (work being one of them). We always have a project on the go and do a lot of our modelling at home. We enjoy being invited to Model railway shows around the country and on the odd occasion abroad, and always ensure that whatever we exhibit, we will entertain the public on the day.
Unfortunately we don’t hold our own exhibition but we are members of ‘The Association of Model Railway Clubs Wales & West of England’ which holds its annual show over the May day bank holiday weekend in Thornbury each year (see their web site for details at www.bristolmodrailex.co.uk).
Barnhill MRC was founded in 1982 in a house in Yate near Bristol along the side of Barnhill Quarry, 'Hence the name'. Malcolm Ward (founder) put an advert in the local newsletter for the area asking for help in building a model railway and forming a club. Brian Hobbs and a few more people applied and the first meeting was held at Malcolm's house. Malcolm put forward how he saw things would go however after the first meeting, only Brian remained and at that time Brian was new to the Hobby and didn't know anything about model railways. Brian though was very enthusiastic & interested in having a go.
The first project was started that year and was built in Malcolms shed. It was a 'U' shaped design of double track and a terminus, it was called 'Barnhill'. Malcolm at the time was a member of the Wales and West of England Model Railway Association and in 1984 the layout was first exhibited at the Bristol Show which was then still being held in the water shed by the city Harbour.
In 1985 Phil Harris joined the club although he lived in Newport his modelling knowledge was brilliant and was a great help to the club, another member to join around about the same time was John Perrett. He was close at hand living on the edge of Bristol, although he wasn't much into actual modelling, he had a collection of rolling stock second to none in '00' scale covering all regions of the BR era from the onset to present day. Malcolm then moved within Bristol and was able to erect a bigger shed, so the first layout to be built here was obviously larger. Again the layout was of a 'U' shape design and was called 'Highfields'. This was also successful in design and appeared at quite a few exhibitions. Incidentally this layout was sold to a club member and was reincarnated after a lot of alterations and new corner sections and is now called 'Caeau Uchaf'. This layout was also very successful appearing at many shows, however it has now been retired and resides in a members garage as his permanent layout.
Malcolm had always wanted to build a 6 to 8 coach end terminus based on Great Yarmouth, as this is where he had been brought up as a child, and his father was a signalman there. Three main boards were constructed with track and wiring completed but unfortunately Malcolm passed away suddenly in 1997 before the layout was completed, and the layout was sold to another club and never finished.
After this the club was now left with a bit of a dilemma in that they now had no club room. So John decided to have another large garage built alongside his house which was soon to become our new home.
We were soon to have a keen modeller join us, Eddie Michel. We knew Ed because he knew John from work and had made a point in coming to see us at exhibitions, he was our saviour as he knew about electrics could kit bash, scratch build and soon came up with a plan for our next layout. This layout was in a complete circuit with main through line, terminus platforms and separate main line routes. This was the first layout to be constructed in John’s garage and started life in late 1999 was to be called 'Kingsfield'. It’s first appearance was at the Bradford MRC show in 2002, although the layout was not complete, it was fully operational and did spark a lot of interest, the layout was not fully completed until beginning of 2004. Our layouts have won us quite a few trophies over the years especially ‘Kingsfield’. But in 2005 we won 'May' Railway of the month then Railway of the year for our layout 'Kingsfield' as voted by the public in the magazine Railway Modeller.
In late 2005 we started on an 'N' gauge layout called Chipbury, This layout is of a 'U' shaped design and was built in a members house. The layout first appeared at the Bristol model railway exhibition in 2006 and has appeared at quite a few shows since. Although this layout is now going through a transformation to change it into a complete circuit and will be on its first outing at the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition in 2018 the associations 50th year.
In 2010 a couple of members decided that they would like to have a go at another scale, ‘0’ gauge. Being new to this scale it was decided early on that instead of going ahead and building a layout it would be better to start building and collecting stock, so Phil and Eddie set about building and acquiring locomotives, coaches and wagons. We decided to build stock from the Western and Midland area around Bristol, and focused on the period of around 1948. The reason for this was that Eddie wanted to build Great Western stock and this would mean we could have early BR and GWR/LMS stock running side by side. We were also fortunate in having a member ‘Ian’ who lives near Blackpool and has a rather large collection of LMS ‘0’ gauge rolling stock which is on loan to us. In early 2013 we decided that we were well on the way to having sufficient stock so a plan was conceived and the layout named ‘Kingsbury’. Construction started and it’s first outing was due to be Telford ‘0’ gauge show in 2014, however unfortunately a week before we were due to go we had to cancel due to a family bereavement, so its first outing was then not until the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition in May 2014. Since its first showing it has been well received appearing at quite a few shows with many still to come. As with all layouts they are never completely finished and there are still many cameo scenes to add.
Since 2008 we have had a number of other members join us; Barry who lives in Rogerstone, his electrical skills are fantastic and what he doesn’t know about electrics is possible not worth knowing. Then we have had two younger members, David and Zack who are both keen modellers but rather busy studying at the moment.
If you would like to know more please browse our web site for details on the layouts, pictures and other projects.
The Barnhill Boys
Our longest serving member and one of the original founders of the club in 1982 is Brian, Phil joined the club a few years later followed by John. Eddie joined in 1998 and everyone else has joined in the intervening years.