The large grounds include two tracks a club house and a grassed area that is ideal for picnics whilst providing a safe area for children to play in between train rides.
Onsite parking limited to members and visitors with locomotives. Members of the public are requested to park on the road, but please park courteously so as not to inconvenience our neighbours.
Our club room provides refreshments/tea/coffee etc, at reasonable price on public open days.
Ground Level Track
Our 7 1/4” gauge track is over 1000 feet in length with two stations. The driver can select his/her own route in terms of the 'Main Line' or 'Station' with two roads in Ravensprings Low Level or one in Brighouse Station. All sizes from standard gauge prototypes, through narrow gauge to minimal locos are catered for, note track is designed around narrow gauge back to back dimensions.
Locomotive unloading tis currently a project whilst we are closed in 2020. Two areas area available for steaming raising one with air and the other with air and 12 volt supply. The club has both dual air/vacuum (1 set of 3 carriages and 1 of 2 carriages) and air braked stock (2 sets of 2 carriages), with a flying brake lead available for visiting locos. Some members have their own stock both standard and narrow gauge which may be available for use.
2 1/2”, 3 1/2” & 5” gauges on approx. 660 feet circular loop. The steaming area is provided with air and 12volt for steam raising, turntable with roads at different levels are based in Ravensprings Station. Braking is manual hydraulic both for guard and driver.
Visiting Locomotive Requirements
All visiting locomotives are required to provide the following where necessary:
Current boiler certification (steam only)
Secondary coupling between driven part of loco and the driver, where driver is not sat in/on locomotive
Spark arrestor for steam locos
The Society was formed originally in 1932 by a group of like minded men. They met in various places, but primarily the Brighouse Co-op Café and the home of the founder member Mr. Douglas Miller. Mr. Miller drove the society forward, holding meetings at his works on occasion. They attended various exhibitions held in those early years at the Halifax and Huddersfield Drill Halls. Several members entered models and I believe were awarded prizes. Having no permanent H.Q. at this time it would have been difficult to model large Locomotives.
When the war came in 1939 most of the members would be drafted into the services. Mr. Miller was in the Navy and was based in Scapa Flow. In fact he was able to use his own boat, a motor yacht, during this period. The activities of the Society were severely restricted as the war effort took all the essential materials. However when hostilities were over the society was resumed. In 1948 Mr. Miller asked the members if they would like to join him in the construction of a miniature railway. He had a piece of land that was suitable and the members willingly accepted his offer.
Work commenced in earnest on building tracks. The first one was an elevated track for 3½" and 5" locos. This was made by building concrete pillars cast in place. We cast two on Saturday and two on Sunday. As you can see this took a long time. The track longitudinals were ex railway sleepers cut to length with a hand saw! Any miss shapes or adjustments were cut with great skill, using an Adze by Douglas. It was great to watch. The rails were of aluminium and lasted for over forty years. The track running length was six hundred feet.
The next job was to lay the 7¼" ground level track. This was laid outside the elevated track and was about six hundred and forty feet in length, again aluminium was used. Locomotives started to appear, mostly 3½" gauge. These at the time were considered to be quite large. Douglas was busy building a 7¼" Duchess to be named “Duchess of Brighouse”. To raise funds for these projects a portable track was made and used at local Galas and other outside events.
It was not until the grounds were considered safe that public open days were started. The admission charge at the time was 3d old money and 3d per ride. There was considerable interest in model boats at this time, so it was agreed to build a boating pond. This was a great success at the time as all the local children could sail their boats on open days. The great day arrived to officially open the pond. Douglas made a ramp to launch his large boat down. The crowd formed around the pond and the boat was launched by the Mayor amid great cheering: The resulting tidal wave unfortunately soaked anyone who was on the opposite side to the boat.
The Society has prospered over the years but the pond had to go. It developed a severe leak which would have been very expensive to repair. Also the boating members were by this time into radio control and required a much larger stretch of water. The membership fell as a result of the ponds demise, from around 120 to 80.
We are now passed our eigthieth year and the grounds are much more developed than in 1948 when we started our journey. The freehold was purchased in 1966 on the death of the founder and President. We are among the few societies in the country who have the luxury and security of owning the land. We have just re-laid the elevated track for I think the third or fourth time over the years. We have used reclaimed plastic for the longitudinals and sleepers and hope that these will last a long time. The ground level track has been extended over the years and is now over one thousand feet long.
Considering Joining BHME?
Do I need to be an engineer?
No – a significant proportion of our members have no formal engineering background, for example we have school children, firefighters, painter and decorators and a few engineers of various types.
If I do own a locomotive when can I use the track?
Provided a steam locomotive has current hydraulic and steam tests then members are free to use the track at any time except whilst public are present. When public are present members must have passed their driving test before they are allowed to drive.
Will someone help me build a locomotive?
Yes – Our members have a vast pool of knowledge which they are keen to share. This ability to tap into our collective knowledge is really the main reason to join BHME. The club now owns 2 'Diesel' locomotives and it may be possible to learn to drive on one or other of these locos.
Do I have to work on club days?
No – There is no 'requirement to work', Ravensprings Park is maintained and operated on a voluntary basis, however, to get the most out of the club it would be helpful if you assisted on Public Running Days and/or Birthday Parties.
We meet every Wednesday and Sunday from 1030 to have a good natter and maintain Ravensprings Park, with members often running a locomotive and we enjoy ourselves with real trains.
Can I learn to Drive a Steam Train?
Yes - Although the club does not own any locomotives so it would depend on someone being willing to let you have a go with their own pride and joy.
What if I just want to help run the railway?
Yes - you can be involved in all the jobs going from track laying, signal man, guard, porter, station master, signal and telegraph, catering and booking clerk (well take the money at the gate).
What do I do Next?
In the first instance please contact us via the Contact Page and then we can discuss visiting Ravensprings Park on a Wednesday or Sunday so that you can have a chat and a good look around. If you like what you see you can complete the application form and return on your next visit. Please note all our members are required to undertake a DBS check, the club does not see the check and is only informed if an issue with child protection comes to light.