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Bourne Station recreated as model railway for new rail exhibition centre at former Rippingale Station



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Bourne Railway Station has been brought back to life in model form as part of a new rail exhibition centre thanks to five years of painstaking work from a retired schoolteacher.

The centre will feature a vast array of railway memorabilia, a mini 'cinema' and two other working model railway layouts.

It is housed in the grounds of the former Rippingale Railway Station and aims to be open by next April for pre-booked groups.

Ken Wainwright began work on Bourne Railway Station in 2016
Ken Wainwright began work on Bourne Railway Station in 2016

The project began around five years ago when former schoolteacher Ken Wainwright began the painstaking work on a 160 square foot replica of Bourne Station five years ago.

He has spent well over 1,000 hours on the heritage project, creating his 1:76 scale masterpiece from scratch.

"It was fascinating to find out how it all developed," Ken explained.

The Red Hall and former fire station form part of the scene
The Red Hall and former fire station form part of the scene

"I'm not an anorak for steam engines or pressure valves or anything like that.

"I'm just interested in heritage and preserving things, and letting people know what it was like. And I enjoy making things."

The station was closed to passengers in 1959, a year shy of its centenary, when the line became a victim of Dr Beeching's cuts.

Model trains will run to the timetables of the day
Model trains will run to the timetables of the day

It has long since disappeared from the town's landscape, so Ken. from Bourne, first had to put in long hours of research before he could start building a replica of how the station would have looked to passengers circa 1935 to 1949.

For Bourne alone, five bulging folders' worth of research, including old photographs, maps and architects drawings, was compiled.

As well as intricately laid-out station buildings and rail furniture - from turntable to signalboxes - surrounding buildings from the period have also been faithfully reproduced.

The Red Hall and Engine Shed each took around 100 hours to build
The Red Hall and Engine Shed each took around 100 hours to build

These include the Red Hall - for a period the grandest of stationmaster's houses - the fire station and Tuck Brothers Garage.

"Mostly it's identical almost to the millimetre to the scale - it's as close as I can get it," Ken said.

"It's all scratch-built so the larger buildings like the engine shed and the Red Hall each took about 100 hours.

The Red Hall and Engine Shed each took around 100 hours to build
The Red Hall and Engine Shed each took around 100 hours to build

"The ability to concentrate and work with different materials is key. Once you have done the planning and the scale drawings you are working towards something."

However, as Bourne station grew, a potential problem arose.

"The frustration was I knew I could make the models, but I just didn't know where to put them," he said.

The platform and passengers have been intricately replicated in minute detail
The platform and passengers have been intricately replicated in minute detail

"I had been looking for two to three years and asked Nene Valley Railway, but they didn't have room."

A chance conversation with a fellow choir member at Abbey Church uncovered not just a big enough space for a model railway, but the most fitting and evocative of homes.

Marc Maitland bought the former Rippingale Station five years ago, keen to retain the nods to its railway past which include platform, tracks, and even an old locomotive.

Rippingale Station was completed in around five months
Rippingale Station was completed in around five months

And in the old goods shed, a perfect home was found for Ken's work.

"It combines Marc's interest with mine," he said.

"I'm happy to make Marc stuff in lieu of rent!"

Ken is currently working on a fairground layout
Ken is currently working on a fairground layout

After Bourne Station was completed, Ken set to work on a replica of Rippingale Station and connected the two layouts together in their new spiritual home.

He has also included a scale model layout of the street tram system in Ken's hometown of Darwen, in Lancashire, and is now putting the finishing touches to the final exhibit - a fairground which will be displayed on a new mezzanine floor.

In among the miniature detail of the layouts you will find scrounged everyday items - a domed roof was once part of an old ice cream container for example.

The former goods shed at Rippingale Station is home to the new exhibition centre
The former goods shed at Rippingale Station is home to the new exhibition centre

"All the time you have to be on the lookout for things to use because you can't buy them," he explained.

"They usually say it can take around 10 years to finish a layout like Bourne so I'm ahead of schedule.

"In a lifetime they say you can make two models of this ilk if you're lucky, but I've already done my two and I'm working on a third."

Then came the idea of opening it up to the public.

Along with the layouts, enthusiasts will be greeted by extensive displays of memorabilia and exhibition boards.

There will also be a mini cinema, showing a film about Bourne Station, an outdoor cafe and there are plans to convert the former goods managers office into a rail-themed library.

Ken has also researched a typical timetable from the period and will run the correct model of trains and numbers to those same times.

Supervised children, meanwhile, will be given the chance to take the controls and operate the models.

They plan to open for bookings-only for groups of up to eight and run Sunday afternoon tours, to also take in the rest of the old station, from April to September.

There will be no charge, but donations will be ploughed back into the facility or given to charity.

"Once people started seeing the Bourne layout they were saying you should open it up for more people to see," Ken added.

"It will be an afternoon experience. We just wanted to do it for the fun of it."

Places must be booked in advance by calling Ken on 01778 423905.



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