Ipswich man's love affair with trains

ALL aboard!One Ipswich man has taken his love of trains a step further and created his very own garden railway.Chris Fordham has been a train enthusiast since he was five-years-old and for the past five years he's being putting all his efforts into creating Archway Valley Railway - complete with miniature houses and people.

ALL aboard!

One Ipswich man has taken his love of trains a step further and created his very own garden railway.

Chris Fordham has been a train enthusiast since he was five-years-old and for the past five years he's being putting all his efforts into creating Archway Valley Railway - complete with miniature houses and people.

Mr Fordham, who has been a bus driver in Ipswich for 21 years, said: “I've loved train since I was little.

“I probably first became interested in them because my father briefly worked on the railways and my grandfather spent his lifetime working on the steam rails.

“It really has been a lifelong interest of mine - and my wife has joined in and it's become a joint effort to create.”

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The project to create the G-scale rail line has taken over five years to create, featuring a church wedding scene with bride and groom.

The rail enthusiast added: “A lot of the buildings in the garden are actually hand-made - I make them all from cement and then paint the stone and brick work on.”

Before Archway Valley Railway was opened in his east Ipswich garden, a double-O line was created in the bedroom.

His wife Brenda said the couple had given up most of their garden for the train set, but was pleased not to have it in the bedroom anymore!

The rail line has also been used to raise money for charities in the town.

Mrs Fordham explained that after hosting open days for members of the G-Scale Society, the couple managed to raise �320 for St Elizabeth's Hospice.

She said: “It's great that we managed to raise so much for charity from only a couple of events and a raffle.

“It's a great local charity which helps so many people in the area - it was a pleasure to raise the money.”

Are you a rail model enthusiast? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Train facts

The earliest railway in Great Britain was built between October 1603 and October 1604.

The steepest Cogwheel railway in the world is in Switzerland - it has a gradient of 48 per cent.

The longest straight stretch of railway is in Australia. The part without any curves is 478 kilometres (301 miles) long.

There are 15,795 kilometres of train track in Great Britain's National Rail network, 14,353 of which are open to passenger trains.

The only railway to go to the top of a volcano was built on Mount Vesuvius, in Italy, in 1880.

The longest station platform in England is at Gloucester. At 602.6 metres long, it is about six times longer than a football pitch.

The largest station in the world is Grand Central, in New York. It has 44 platforms.

An average of 3.24 million passengers travel by train daily in Great Britain - making it one of the busiest railways in Europe.

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