Cambridge & District
Model Engineering Society Ltd

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Frequently Asked Questions

►When are you open to the public?

Open Days

►What happens during the winter? Why don't you open during the winter?

During the months from the end of October until the beginning of April we are busy carrying out essential maintenance on the track, improving the facilities, extending the track, tidying up, gardening, painting and many other activities.

►Behind the scenes

As you travel around the track on your train you will notice that there are improvements taking place and where we have not quite finished things off. We are all volunteers and no-one gets paid for the work that gets done around the site. Work gets done as we have both the 'manpower' and the money to afford it. (For example, the track extension required almost 2 tonnes of rail which was not cheap!)

►Can I hold my child's party at your site?

Holding Parties

►Did you see the gorilla in the woods?

On Public Running days we get a number of non-human visitors. You might see a teddy bears' picnic taking place, a monster trying to climb a tree, cuddly toys watching you or, perhaps most surreal, a dolphin in a tree. Don't worry, they all go home when the trains stop running where they remain warm and dry until the next Public Running day.

►Do I need a ticket to ride on the train?

Ticket Information

►Where do the batteries go?

Our members have a variety of engines that they bring down to our open days. Some of these are electrically powered (typically 'car' batteries hidden underneath the body), a couple are powered by petrol engines but the majority of them are real steam engines. They have a coal fire that is used to turn water into steam which is used to drive pistons which in turn are used to turn the wheels. They do not have batteries but have a very hot coal fire so please mind little hands! Our engines may be small but they use the same principles that the 'big' trains do and are just as hot. They are most definitely not toys!

►Are the locomotives real?

Our members have a variety of engines that they bring down to our open days. Some of these are electrically powered (typically 'car' batteries hidden underneath the body), a couple are powered by petrol engines but the majority of them are real steam engines. They are most definitely not toys!

►Can I get a cup of tea or coffee and a piece of cake?

Yes, we have a café that is open inside the clubhouse that sells hot and cold drinks, cakes and biscuits and sometimes ice creams.

►How much does a ticket cost?

Ticket Information

►Can my child ride on a train by themselves?

Children of all ages are welcome on our trains but if they are under 5 and adult needs to accompany them. We believe that a single adult can sensibly manage up to two children at once.

►What happens if it rains?

We are, at heart, an engineering society and as such we do not have extensive facilities especially when the weather is not too good. Generally speaking, if we have advertised an open day then we will run the trains although we may stop if the weather becomes too wet - it's no fun for anyone. If you have tickets that you have not used then don't worry since you can use them at subsequent public running days.

►Can I play football/cricket on the site?

Although our site covers several acres it can become quite busy on public running days so we would respectfully ask that you refrain from playing balls games or other games that involve objects flying around such as frisbees. There is a further issue which is that objects can land on the track and while our drivers pay the greatest attention to the track ahead of them an object landing on the track will cause a train to stop until it is cleared (by a Society member) and delay everyones' journeys.

►What are the opening times?

Open Days

►Are the signals real?

Yes. The drivers of the trains have to obey the signals which are modelled on the same principle as the 'big' railway. They are an essential part of the safety systems that we use to ensure that your ride is safe.

►I am holding a party on one of your open days and I have a number of items I would like to unload from my car. Can I drive my car onto your site?

Holding Parties

►Can I hold a private event at your site?

We are a model engineering society at heart and we open to the public on, usually, 7 times year. The money that we raise from providing rides is ploughed back into our site to improve and extend the track and, for 2013, a new locomotive and coaches. Generally speaking we are not able to accomodate requests to hold private events for non-members of the Society.

►Why are there 4 rails?

Our railway supports 3 different gauges of track (the gauge is the spacing between the rails). Our track works with engines that have wheels that are spaced at either 3½", 5" or 7¼". The recently added extension only supports the larger two gauges.

►Are dogs allowed on the site?

Regrettably dogs are not allowed on our site. This is due to the large number of people who visit us particularly excitable youngsters (and not quite youngsters!). Guide dogs are, obviously, excepted.