Since its formation in 1934 the Isle of Wight Model Engineering Society has maintained a broad spectrum of modelling interests among its members. The main focus is still on making and running live steam railways, but model boats and traction engines and their ilk get a more than substantial look-in.
As well as these mainstream activities, some members make stationary steam engines, I.C. engines, workshop equipment and clocks. Many dabble in several disciplines giving us a bank of knowledge and experience from which to glean advice.
The Raised Level Track circuit is approximately 660 feet long and accommodates both 5” & 3 ½” gauges. The track passes through a 35 foot long tunnel, under the site entrance drawbridge and a pedestrian footbridge! The Ground Level Track accommodates 7 ¼” & 5” gauges. This 575 foot long track has a Station Passing Loop, a Level Crossing and offers great views of the far side of the pond and the Garden Railway. Both tracks boast good loco handling facilities to reduce the heavy lifting problems often associated with the hobby.
A comparatively recent addition has been the development of two raised level "Garden Railway" tracks in 45mm/Gauge 1 for both live rail electrics and another for radio-controlled locos, live steam or otherwise self-propelled. The "Garden Railway" is once again under further development for the benefit of members and public alike.
The purpose built pond at Broadfields has been extended several times and now measures 68 feet by 38 feet with a water depth of 21 inches. It is a fresh-water pond with a continuous filtration and circulation system that guarantees that it is weed-free throughout the year. The pond is easily accessible all round and has a launching bay that enables model boats to be put into the water without any difficult bending or stretching. Being a fresh-water pond it is particularly suitable for scale model boats and live steam.
There is a raised decking area for people to stand whilst sailing radio controlled boats and ample shelf and table surfaces for boat preparation. The types of boats in use employ sails, steam engines or electric motors only. I.C. engines are not permitted because of noise and pollution worries.
The Society holds regular meetings each month, usually at the Society’s site in Cowes, Isle of Wight. The form of these meetings is usually to contain a feature or theme for the evening - a film or video show, a talk from an outside speaker on some relevant subject or a practical demonstration of model making. All of these promote lively discussion and well attended meetings. The "Bits and Pieces" evenings, where members display some of their own successful projects or rank disasters, are frequently the most appreciated and best attended. As an occasional alternative in summer, a family orientated evening meeting is substituted, with barbecue facilities and day/night running on railways and pond to entertain members and their families.