For the Love of a Railway

by Axminster Chamber of Commerce in Axminster, , United Kingdom

Total raised £1,040

£4,500 target 28 days left
23% 25 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 26th June 2024 at 7:32pm

To establish a visitor centre for our model of the famous old Axminster to Lyme Regis Railway and celebrate memories of a local legend.

by Axminster Chamber of Commerce in Axminster, , United Kingdom

We have already built a much acclaimed model of the Axminster to Lyme Regis Railway and placed it on display in our town centre. Now, we want to use that as a ‘platform’ for a wider initiative that shares the glorious story of the railway amongst audiences of all ages while also attracting tourists to our town.

The main elements of our plans are:

Secure the future of the model - we have had to take power off the model after an insurance man decided that, despite the technology we have installed to rule out overheating, it could catch fire. We always knew that we would need to move at some stage if the building were let, so are treating this reverse as an opportunity. We are now actively seeking a new home where we can not just display the model but do much more share the story of Lyme Billy.

Develop the model - We would like to add more ‘content‘ to our model that reflects the age in which it is set. This could include industrial buildings, a school, hotel, quarry and more features that define and populate the landscape such as fences, people and animals. It would be enhanced with accent lighting.

Modelling club - we would like to launch a railway modelling club where people of all ages can enjoy the hobby. The club would be the base not just for work on the existing model but on potentially building a portable N-gauge version to take the story to other towns, villages and schools. We have also been asked to maintain and develop an existing layout focused on Axminster station.

Education pack - the reaction from young people highlights the potential for the model to become the focus for a wider learning opportunity. We envisage a curriculum-linked resource pack with opportunities to involve real people who worked on or rode the railway. 

Public leaflet - We want to explain the significance of the railway for tourists  as well as for members of the community who were not around at the time. The initiative has real potential to add to the local sense of pride and to attract much needed visitors to support our businesses. 

Record social history - We aim to record the memories of people who played a part in the Lyme Billy era. Many have come forward with memories that must not be lost. While recording those memories, we also aim to make them accessible long-term.

Heritage group - older members of the community have shown substantial interest in gatherings to reminisce about the railway. This may well have a role in tackling loneliness amongst vulnerable members of our community.

Walking opportunities - the disused bed of the railway was once a favourite local walk. Much has been lost to farming and some to development but we believe there is still potential for guidance that highlights what is still there and capable of being safely enjoyed. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

Personal sponsor

As a personal sponsor your name will be added to our ‘Lyme Billy Lovers’ panel to be displayed with the model.

£25 or more

5 of 100 claimed

Silver sponsor

As a silver sponsor you will adopt a specific ‘tier 1’ feature on the model. It might be a seat on a station platform, a tree, a static vehicle or even a farm animal grazing peacefully as Lyme Billy cruises by. You will be able to choose from a list we provide. Your name will also be added to our ‘Lyme Billy Lovers’ panel to be displayed with the model.

£50 or more

0 of 30 claimed

Gold sponsor

As a gold sponsor you will adopt a specific ‘tier 2’ feature on the model. It might be a cottage, a bridge, or a building within one of the stations. Your name will also be added to our ‘Lyme Billy Lovers’ panel to be displayed with the model.

£100 or more

Platinum sponsor

As a platinum sponsor you will be the named sponsor of one of the prime elements within the model. It could be Axminster, Lyme Regis or Combpyne stations, Cannington viaduct, the Axminster Carpets factory, Woodroffe School, the Victoria Hotel in Lyme Regis or others that we have planned. You will also have your name added to our ‘Lyme Billy Lovers’ panel to be displayed with the model.

£150 or more

2 of 20 claimed

Business sponsor

As a business sponsor you would be entitled to have your name carried on either an advertising hoarding or a freight waggon on the model. Your name would also be added to our ‘Lyme Billy Lovers’ panel to be displayed with the model

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