Welcome to the Bristol Society of Model and Experimental Engineers’ website.
Our Society was founded in 1909 and is one of the oldest in the country, we have around 250 members with engineering interests ranging from locomotives and traction engines to boats to aeroplanes, tethered car racing, live steam and internal combustion engines, clocks, tool making, 3D printing and all things modelling.
We also built and operate the Miniature railway at Ashton Court.
From its opening in 1973 the railway has been developed by the Society to become what you see today … an interpretation, albeit on a smaller scale, of how the railways were operated particularly in the days of steam. We are all volunteers and many of the locomotives you will see and travel behind have been built by Society members as faithful reproductions of an original prototype that also work in exactly the same way.
The Ashton Court Miniature Railway is back!
After missing most of 2020 due to the pandemic, the Bristol Model Engineers are pleased to announce that the Ashton Court Railway is running again.. The engines and carriages have had a lonely time stuck in their sheds and therefore can’t wait to see their old friends, as well as making new ones, in 2021. Come along and make their day as they steam around the track.
Please follow our Facebook page for further updates, and read all of the below information before your visit, as things will necessarily look a bit different this year.
These dates are however subject to the weather (as always), the availability of volunteers and we also reserve the right to suspend operations if the government changes the Covid-19 regulations or advice.
The railway will be open from 12.00hrs until 16.00hrs. We may have to close the queue a little earlier to avoid any disappointments if many people are waiting.
* What’s different this year?
We will be operating under strict procedures for health and safety, and we ask all friends and visitors to adhere to them so that we can all have a happy and safe afternoon.
Anyone showing or experiencing any of the symptoms of Covid-19 MUST NOT come to the site or ride the railway.
Social distancing rules must be observed at all times, mask wearing is encouraged (but not legally required) and hands must be sanitized on entry and exit. A one-way route into and out of the site, and to and from the trains, will be in operation.
We will be collecting contact details for NHS Test and Trace from one adult per group, please consider installing the NHS contract tracing app so that you can scan in using the QR code instead of giving your name and phone number.
Tickets may only be bought for one ride at a time. Should you wish to take a second ride then you will need to re-join the ticket queue. We will only be accepting card payments for tickets. All tickets will cost £1.30 each.
Tickets will only be sold as trains become available, as there is limited space available for passengers to wait while maintaining social distancing. Please queue outside the ticket office, and along the boundary fence of the railway enclosure.
We hope to run trains on both our railways: On the raised track railway only one household (or support bubble) will be permitted to ride per train and on the ground level households/support bubbles will be separated by an empty carriage. Railway volunteers will give guidance on which carriages can be used so that social distancing is maintained.
Railway volunteers will wipe down the carriages after every trip. As you can imagine, loading and unloading will be slower than usual to allow for this, and we thank you in advance for your patience.
* What about parking?
Please remember that parking arrangements at the railway have changed. Parking at Ashton Court is controlled by Bristol City Council, and visitors will need to pay and display. Only members of the Bristol Society of Model & Experimental Engineers are permitted to park their vehicles in the area adjacent to the railway.
If you enjoy the magic of a steam railway why not join us? Email the chairman (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details, he’d love to hear from you.
Brilliant Bristol Model Engineering Exhibition review here.
Although the club has a strong affinity to the age of steam as witnessed by the many fine steam locomotives to be seen at our miniature railway layout at Ashton Court Railway you will also find “Diesel Electric” locomotives in the line up for passenger hauling which are a firm favourite with the youngsters who come along on our public running days for a ride, along with mum and dad.
The diverse interests within the membership covers the whole gamut of engineering , mechanical, electrical, electronic, even civil engineering when you consider the track laying and maintenance carried out at Ashton Court Railway so there is a niche for a wide variety of skills and interests. Why not pay us a visit and see for yourselves?
We hold public running days at Ashton Court Railway and bi monthly lectures covering model engineering and related topics at Begbrook Community Centre where everyone is welcome, so come along and enjoy.
BSMEE has the use of 4.5 acres of land at Bristols Ashton Court on which our miniature railway can be found. To find out more about us follow this link.
The Bristol Society of Model engineers has for many years put on a grand exhibition. Visited by thousands of people our Exhibition is an excellent way to see the diverse collections of models that are made around the UK and the world. Although the staging of that exhibition is currently on hold you can find out more here. Find out more about the exhibition.
CLICK ON THE VIDEO FOR A TIME LAPSE VIEW OF ONE OF OUR EXHIBITIONS
(This is only one of the four halls we fill)
We are working towards creating a huge gallery of images of many aspects of our hobby, take a look or maybe even upload some yourself.
More about us in this video
The Bristol Society of Model and Experimental Engineers hope that you will find our website informative and enjoyable.
The club has a new workshop with an extensive range of tools and machine tools including lathes, mills, pillar drills and many other items. Some of the tools are larger than many of those found in home workshops so members can tackle large scale models.
Up and Away
(We are not just about hot engines)