A Letter from Nantwich

  October 2013 (original version written in April 2012)  

Take a trip round the church with the train

 

 

An important place in Methodism

NANTWICH Methodist Church holds an important place in Methodism. Apart from being the last Methodist Church in town, one of its Ministers, the Rev Malcolm G. Lorimer, is the Superintendent of the Cheshire South Circuit of the Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District of the Methodist Church.

   The Hospital Street church is one of 37 in the Cheshire South Methodist Circuit.

 

Above: The main hall at the Methodist Centre all set for a service.

Right: The Hospital Street aspect of the centre, formerly the schoolrooms

One-third scale engine pulls (and pushes) the carriages . . .

WITHOUT meaning to diminish the importance of the church centre, let's take a look at something for which the building has become known in recent years - a scale-model narrow gauge railway in the church grounds.

   The Methodist congregation now revels in the title "The Church with the Train". So much so that the name is part

of a notice on the fencing between the church and the adjoining supermarket.

   When the church centre acquired the title, it was decided that they should have their own engine and carriages. Before then, the train was one belonging to  Paul Durant.

   A new engine was purchased, powered by two 12-volt batteries, with the engine driver controlling the speed with a small hand switch.

    But that was superseded in the summer of 2013 by another train owned by Paul - a one-third scale model of 

 

Paul Durrant and Chelsea

 

Paul Durant with church member, Chelsea.

 

Idea for signal box

  As if trains weren't sufficient fun for the train crew,

  they became excited about the possibility of

  acquiring the redundant signal box at the railway

  station. The idea was that the the box would be

  installed next to the church's new car park -

  alongside a railway signal post and a mural

  featuring railways painted by local artist, or on a

  lane next to the church. See here for what

  came of the idea.   

  

 
H.G.Pattman all set for rail return journey

Train driver, the late Diana Clementson, all set to take a young passenger on a trip with the new steam, engine, named after Paul Durant's grandfather, Mr H.G.Pattman.

 

 

The "station's" name on a safety barrier. "Drop 'n' Shop" is the Saturday morning facility for parents to leave their children in good hands while they shop.

 

a train made by Kerr Stuart in Stoke-on-Trent. The full-scale one, which runs on a 2ft 6ins track, cost 520. The scale model, which runs on a dual five-inch and seven-and-a-quarter-inch permanent track at the side of the church, is a little cheaper.

    The name plate on the side of the new engine was placed there with much pride by Paul. The engine is named H.G.Pattman after his grandfather. 

   The engine is powered by anthracite beads, which looks like lumps of small-scale coal, bought from Stoke-on-Trent.

   The free-rides railway "service" (donations for charity), which provides fun for children of all ages - that is, adults can ride too! - began in 2007.

   It runs every Saturday morning while the church centre is open for "Drop 'n' Shop" - a facility which allows parents to drop their children off for supervised activities while they go shopping.

   The train runs all year round, except for the odd week when there is snow on the line. Leaves are no problem. The return trip starts at the front railings of the church centre for about 75 yards toward the supermarket.

    A number of changes have taken place with regard to the train project over the years - with an ambitious one to follow.

   One of the changes to date was to extend the track to run the full length of the area of land acquired by the church as an extension to its car park - crossing over a small lane that leads to the original car park as well as the new one.

 

John Walkington brings engine to a stop

Volunteer train driver, John Walkington, brings the previous engine to a halt, with Paul Durant looking on in the background.

 

While delighting the passengers, the train also gives a lot of pleasure to the drivers. They are Paul, of course, John Walkington and David Maidment.

 

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