Model railway HQ destroyed in arson attack
By: Robin Jones
TENS of thousands of pounds worth of model railway equipment was destroyed in an arson attack at the Midland Railway-Butterley.
Sheds containing model railways at Swanwick Junction were set alight late Saturday night or very early Sunday morning.
The alarm was raised at 12.40am and crews from Ripley, Heanor and Ilkeston battled for three and a half hours to bring the blaze under control.
Two wooden sheds housing two 00 gauge, one N gauge and two large 0 gauge layouts, along with a container full of building supplies, burnt to the ground. The fire also melted a large electrical junction box causing power to be lost to various parts of the site.
Club secretary Dave Wragg said: “It has devastated us. One of our members was nearly in tears.
“We put a lot of steel around the doors this summer. I think they tried to get in and couldn’t so they fired it.”
By daylight members of Swanwick Junction Model Railway Club pronounced nothing was salvageable.
It was estimated that 30 model locomotives, 40 coaches and 100 wagons, three two-track controllers and two four track controllers, were lost in the fire, as well as members’ personal property.
The club had suffered break-ins five times over the last 12 months.
The centre has been hit by arsonists twice already this year; a 1873 Midland Railway Pullman body carriage was destroyed in a fire in March.
Centre manager Alan Calladine said: “Going back about four years we had someone living in the site that was useful for security. Unfortunately we got on the wrong side of planning regulations and they had to leave.
“We’re looking at upping security. Having someone on site permanently is a huge deterrent.”
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