£4 million model railway centre planned for Kent

Date Posted: 26/05/2016

The new Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre should open in summer 2019, adjacent to McArthurGlen designer shopping outlet. 

The aim of the major new visitor attraction is to preserve the posterity of some of the finest model railways that have been created over the past 60 years.

According to the current plans, the centre will spread out over 30,000 square feet and feature at least 20 permanent model railway layouts, as well as visiting layouts, which will change every three months.

The attraction also intends to preserve and achieve the history of model railway manufacturing – from clockwork to digital.

The model railways on display will represent multiple nationalities. For example, the centre has planned to create a 200 foot long HO layout that depicts North America, and a German/French border railway.

Facilities at the new attraction will include an exhibition and display area, lecture and demonstration theatre, specialist model shop and first-floor cafeteria overlooking Ashford railway works.

There will also be a second-floor observation deck, which will enable visitors to watch Eurostar trains travelling over the viaduct.

Plus, a multi-gauge live steam railway attraction is also being planned for the 2.5 acre site.

Finally, the south facing wall of the building will show in both text and pictorial displays the life of Ashford works during World War One, where the first tanks in the world were constructed, and in World War Two where the works were involved in building large gun barrels for the navy.

Creators of the site are hoping that it will rival the National Railway Museum in York when it’s finished.

Why Ashford?

Ashford has a proud historical association with both the earliest and contemporary development of rail services.

Its connection with the railway can be traced back to the late 1830s, at a time when the railway concept was in its infancy.

For more information about the centre and to follow its progress visit www.aimrec.co.uk/aims.html.

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