VIDEO: Big celebration for tiny trains at Sheffield Railway Society

Members of Sheffield Model Railway Society celebrated their club’s 50th birthday in the way you would expect – by playing with their trains.

And they were chuff-chuff-chuffed to show them off to members of the public.

Sheffield Model Railway Society  - picture shows Neale Burrows with his layout.

Sheffield Model Railway Society - picture shows Neale Burrows with his layout.

Hundreds of visitors packed into Davy Sports Club on Prince of Wales Road, Darnall, to take a look at their miniature world.

Two floors of the building were crammed with tiny trains in perfect scale, making their way through beautifully constructed countryside, cities or industrial and residential areas.

Colliery yards, coking plants, railway sidings and, of course, a station or two.

This was a real case of boys showing off their toys.

Society Secretary Keith Ballam, aged 70, a retired vending machine merchandiser, loved it.

He said: “Our club meets in Burton Road but I have models at home in Rotherham. I’ve always been interested in trains.”

But it seems the fascination is strictly a man thing.

“We have about 30 members,” said Keith. “All men. We don’t seem to be able to attract the ladies – and younger men are pretty rare too.”

There is the odd exception to the norm, however.

Joe Chandler, 20, and his mate Ollie Reading, 21, are manning the footplate of the Sheaf Valley Railway exhibition.

Joe, a banker from Darnall, said: “I just love trains. I volunteer on the Peak Railway at Matlock. And having models is as near as I can get to having a train at home.”

Ollie is just as enthusiastic and seems to have the perfect job.

“I own Rails of Sheffield selling model trains,” he says. “And I live above the shop in Heeley.”

But why would anybody choo-choo-choose to take up the hobby Ollie?

“It’s an inspiring hobby. You need to be creative and know a little about electrics, carpentry, joinery and painting as well as doing research.”