HUNDREDS of rail fans steamed into Rainhill village hall to enjoy whistlestop thrills.

They were there for Rainhill Model Railway Club’s annual Christmas Exhibition which sported eight layouts from N gauge to Gauge 1.

The layout ‘Sno-Joke’ was the most popular with children as they were allowed to drive the trains.

Two of the three OO gauge layouts featured modern diesel engines while the third, ‘St Ann’s Central’ had mainly steam locomotives and was the first major layout built by the club members.

The ‘Wainscotting’ layout has tiny nuclear flasks on board a train which are being moved to a secret location, while ‘Pex Hill’ is a narrow gauge layout, privately owned by club member Chris Tigwell and portrays a busy line in old Lancashire Apart from the layouts there were also modelling demonstrations and traders on hand. And Father Christmas also took time out from his busy schedule to pay a visit, much to the delight of the many youngsters at the exhibition.

New this year were vintage bus rides on a real St Helens Corporation double decker (courtesy of North West Museum of Road Transport) which drew passengers galore.

Rainhill Model Railway Club was formed in 1995 and operated out of premises in Rainhill and Prescot before re-locating a year ago to the current home at the North West Museum of Road Transport in Hall Street.

The club currently has 40 members aged between 20 and 80 years old meeting every Monday and Friday evenings.

Anyone interested in becoming a member should go to and contact secretary, Brian Davis. Membership of the club automatically includes membership of the museum.

Alternatively, call in to the museum’s Santa event on the weekend of December 15-16 when the clubrooms will be open to the public.