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A Short History

The North Down Model Railway Society (NDMRS) was founded in September 1978. This followed a visit by our first Chairman to the home of one of the founder members where he discovered him working on his model railway. After a conversation about the possibility of forming a club, an advertisement was placed in the local press. Around 100 people turned up to the meeting, and so the NDMRS was established and the first Committee elected. Three of the founding members are still on the membership list.

The club met in various locations over the next few months. A small layout was built in the garage of one member and this was displayed in a tent during November 1978. A move to the present clubrooms was made in 1979 and work commenced on the club’s first layout. This was a permanent layout filling most of the main clubroom and going through an opening in the wall into the kitchen area. A lifting section to provide access to the loo was needed! Operators had to be careful as at least one train left the kitchen area and came to grief when the lifting section was in the up position. When the layout was completed, open days became a regular feature giving with free entry for the public and allowing members to run trains. Over this time club members’ layouts taken to and displayed at model shows.

After many years of service, the permanent layout was dismantled and the club embarked on the task of building portable layouts. Over time, and a number of builds that have come and gone, we now have layouts in ‘N’, ‘OO’ and ‘O’ gauges with one of each on display at any one time. The club has been fortunate to have had layouts featured in the railway modelling magazines.

Our Clubroom

Our clubroom is located at 13 Central Avenue, Bangor, BT20 3AF and we meet on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm until 10:00pm. The Society moved to its present location in 1980. The clubroom is used by the members to construct club exhibition layouts (and also privately owned layouts) and as a social meeting area where tea and biscuits can be enjoyed while putting the problems of the world to rights.

Recently completed is a DCC-controlled ‘O’ gauge layout based on Antrim which is on the line from Belfast to Ballymena and all points north. In progress is a new ‘OO’ layout based on Craigmore, an 18 arch viaduct carrying the Belfast to Dublin main line. On the layout this spans almost ten feet. It will enable us to run both DC and DCC locos.


We would always have layouts operational on club evenings. We endeavour to have layouts for the three main gauges of ‘N’, ‘OO’ and ‘O’ available for members to run trains. At the moment we have an ‘N’ gauge DC-controlled layout, an ‘OO’ one for both DC and DCC together with an ‘O’ DCC-controlled one. Members can run their own trains or use the ones owned by the club. There is always someone on hand to help with advice and assistance on any problems that are encountered. We can help other members with modelling skills such as design, woodwork, track laying, electronics, and producing the scenery.

We currently operate a number of exhibition layouts which regularly receive invitations to shows around the UK and the Republic of Ireland. These are generally available for exhibition on request. See the ‘Layouts’ page for details.

We also host our own exhibition each year around Easter time. This is held at Bangor Grammar School. We would typically invite 15 to 20 layouts from other clubs and individuals. In addition, we would also have trade stands selling everything to do with model railways and modelling in general too. The show is not just for railway modellers. We could also have model aircraft (with a flying display,) boats, dolls’ houses, diecast models, Lego, Meccano and many other stands of interest to modellers.

As a club we organise a number of social activities during the year. Dinner evenings, some with partners, are held occasionally through the year at a local restaurant. The largest gathering is on the Saturday evening of the Exhibition when exhibitors, traders and club members with their partners come together for dinner and the presentation of awards.


The NDMRS is a small informal group of dedicated model railway enthusiasts. We are always happy to receive new members and they are always given a warm welcome. The ability to enjoy good craic is also highly recommended. We also have tea and biscuits to enjoy.

At the moment we have in excess of thirty members. Their interests currently range from N gauge to 7 1/4" (and also 12" to the foot).

If you are interested in joining, or need more information, please get in touch with the Club Secretary using the form on their Contacts page. Alternatively, why not call in and see us. We are open on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm until 10:00pm.

Not sure about joining but have a problem with your layout or trains? We can probably help you out. Just call in and we will try to help.

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