Founded in 1940, East Grinstead Model Railway Club has been in its present location since the end of 1980; however there has long been a model railway club in the town. The club used to meet at Norton House up to the 1960’s, but over the years membership dwindled and with the loss of its clubroom following the demolition of the old Norton House to make way for a new development, the club became dormant for a number of years.
In 1980 the club was reformed but finding suitable premises particularly with room for the construction of model railway layouts, was not easy. It was due to two people (the late Syd Vallance, a retired signalman and founder chairperson of the club and the late Fred Harding) and the help of East Grinstead Town Council in allowing the use of basement rooms at East Court, at an affordable rent.
Following acquisition of the new clubroom and reformation of the club, work commenced on constructing a working ‘00’ layout of both the high and low levels with surrounding trackwork of the station complex at East Grinstead.
This would show the station as it was before it lost its south and east/west rail connections. When built (complete with Garden Viaduct) it took up most of the space in the two clubrooms. It was finally dismantled in the early 1990’s to make way for new layouts and the model station building kept for display in club exhibitions.