On passenger days and rally days we can provide members and visitors with tea, coffee and biscuits and other confectionery. Ice cream is available in the summer. There are cooking facilities, fridges, and hot water. We have two lovely loos, one disabled fitted. In the summer we can cool the space, and, in the winter, we can warm it all with an economical air conditioning system. When we run rallies, we serve train crews with food in the clubhouse and we hire the village hall, next door, to serve rally visitors with refreshments and picnic food. There are three more toilets in the hall one of which caters for babies.
The members built the clubhouse in a project that took 5 years from initial planning to completion. The time from breaking ground to opening was 3 years ending in 2010. Only plastering and laying a hard floor skim was conducted by professional contractors. Every other job was undertaken by members who in most instances had never conducted similar work. Forty-four tons of concrete went into the foundation and a little less into the concrete floor of the building. RSME had to buy tubular staging platforms to provide access as the walls rose and especially where work was being done on the roof and eaves.
It was a lengthy process to find the stone because the planners were anxious to have something to match the two other 100-year-old buildings on the site. The stone for them came from Hovingham quarry but it has long since run out of the material. The stone used was finally obtained from Lincolnshire and is grit stone of suitable colour and not limestone as used in the old buildings
Funding was about one third provided by grants from the National Lottery and from a local family trust. The remainder was found by the membership in a one-time contribution before the work began. This meant that the progress was not threatened by money shortage at least until the very end.
Most of the work was conducted on Thursdays which became the standard clubhouse project day although Sundays were often used as well. When there was a big event, such as pouring the concrete foundations and later the floor, lifting the roof trusses and tiling the roof, a call was made for a big squad and in every case the membership responded with great enthusiasm despite bad weather and grubby conditions. It is amazing to look back over the pictures now to see how big a commitment was made by the members to get the building erected.
The clubhouse now affords a comfortable place for the members to meet, show each other work, and to work out of for winter maintenance. Since the completion on the main building, additional work has been done on the old school toilet block which we originally only had partial access to for railway utilities. Now we have it all and it has a ‘permanent way’ workshop, a loco coal store, compressor house plus a smart toilet and shower for visitors to rallies who camp.
There is a nice grassy children’s playground with climbing frame, Wendy house, swing boat and rotating ring ride next to the clubhouse. This is part of the village hall facility and not provided by RSME, but all are welcome.