I’m currently working for a client in Nottinghamshire, and this has me located in the Retford area most weeks. Last week I went along to the Bassetlaw Railway Society, and before the evening was out I’d paid my annual subs and became a member.

BNNRS seems like a great club with a bunch of very keen members. Plans are afoot to build a DCC layout based around a container depot and featuring the Heljan crane. I’m really looking forward to helping out as and when work commitments put me in Retford over the next few months. The concept of an exhibition layout built for the 21st century using the latest DCC ideas is one that interests me immensely.

The Bassetlaw (North Notts) Railway Society was founded in 1974 by a group of local enthusiasts interested in promoting railways in the North Nottinghamshire area. The club is based in Retford and has its clubrooms on platform 1 of Retford Railway Station. Once a month the club has formal meetings with a guest speaker. A list of forthcoming events can be found here.

The members of the club have interests which cover most aspects of railways both model and full size. Modeller’s within the society work in ‘Z’, ‘N’, ‘009’ ‘TT’, ‘00’ and ‘O’ gauges while other members collect historic Tri-ang, Hornby Dublo and Tinplate trains. The 70 strong membership has a variety of railway interests including live steam locomotive construction, steam, diesel & electric traction and railway photography.

While the society meets formally on the third Wednesday of each month in it’s club rooms on platform 1 of Retford railway station, the clubrooms are open most Mondays and Wednesdays for modelling activity. In addition, a selection of evening trips are usually arranged during the summer months, recent locations visited include The Stockholes Miniature Railway, Barrow Hill Diesel Depot and Doncaster Power Box. Following the sale of the club layout, ‘Idleforde Junction’ the modelling group are currently working on new exhibition standard model railways in ‘TT’, ‘OO’ and ‘O’ gauges. The society organises an annual Model Railway Exhibition in Retford’s Town Hall over the third weekend of November.


Bassetlaw is an area in North Nottinghamshire, England, covering 245 Square miles. Situated between agricultural Lincolnshire and industrial South Yorkshire the district has two main population centres – the traditional market towns of Retford and Worksop. Bassetlaw is steeped in history, from the legends of Robin Hood to the story of the Pilgrim Fathers. William Brewster and Richard Clyfton left their homes and friends in Bassetlaw to sail on the Mayflower.

Bassetlaw dates back to 10th century Viking times and takes its name from the ancient Wapentake, largest of the mediaeval divisions of Nottinghamshire.

The Bassetlaw Railway Society draws members from a wide area and meets in Retford. One of the oldest boroughs in England, Retford’s royal charter was granted by Henry III in 1246. In 1766 the Great North Road was diverted through the town and in 1777 a canal opened linking Retford to the river Trent. The town became a railway centre in 1849.

Today, high speed diesel and electric trains of the Great North Eastern Railway and modern diesel units of Hull Trains speed through on their way to London, York, or Edinburgh. Some 16 trains in each direction stop at Retford, bringing the capital cities only 90 minutes, and 3 hours away respectively. Further east-west lines link Retford and Worksop with Sheffield, Lincoln, and Grimsby.

In May 1998 the Robin Hood Line reached Worksop, linking the town to Mansfield and Nottingham by rail for the first time since 1965.