The Puffing Park Track

The Chipperfield track was originally built by the Watford & District Model Engineering Society on land owned by a Mr Peter Bartlett and was officially opened on 3rd July 1949.

They used the track for many years and it passed into the hands of a Mr Ward, but eventually the Watford club closed and the track fell into disuse. After the death of Mr Ward the track was sold off but remained disused.

Meanwhile the St Albans club had been using a track in the grounds of St Georges School, Harpenden, courtesy of the headmaster and a club member, the late Dan Keen who was a technical studies teacher at the school.

That track was built in the 1970s, Dan having got some of his pupils to make parts for the track and assist in it’s construction as part of their studies and after school activities. In the 1990s St Georges School needed to expand and the track there was torn up and built over leaving the St Albans club without a track for a while.

However, in 2001 club member David Saunders, who knew about the Chipperfield track from visits in his childhood days with his father Bert (a founder member of the St Albans Society), managed to track down the new owner and approached him with a view to the St Albans club using it.

The new owner agreed and so in June 2001 the St Albans club began clearing a huge amount of undergrowth, mainly general debris, weeds and huge laurel bushes (trees more like). It had clearly been many years since the track had been used but, remarkably, the track itself was still in good condition.

It was not long before members were enjoying running round the track and have been ever since. The facilities were improved in 2016 by the addition of new steaming bays and other improvements.

The track is a raised loop, approximately 800' long and is built to accomodate 3.5" and 5" Loco's. We have a small station, tunnel and a gentle incline along the back straight. (Many a Loco can be found sitting there raising steam)

Owing to the track being private property we do not publicise its exact location, but we can state that it is in Chipperfield. If you wish to come along please speak to one of our members at our evening meetings.(See Join).

The club currently has several locos both steam and electric for the use of members who do not yet have their own, and which are also used for public runnings at our exhibition.

Training is given for people wishing to drive a loco on the track.
Four steaming bays have recently been added to the set-up with special transporter to aid moving from car to bay and from bay to track

Chipperfield Track (Puffing Park) Running Sessions.

There are normally two Club running sessions each calendar month at the Puffing Park .

They are at 10:00am on the first Sunday after club nights and again at 1.00pm on the Wednesday two weeks after Club nights.

Club night dates are listed in the Gazette, or check with Roger Stephen by email, or join his regular Puffing Field e-mail list; his contact details are on the inside cover of the Gazette.

To reduce the risk of getting stuck you are advised to check ground conditions carefully before driving beyond the entrance gates.

 

This archive film documents the construction of the track in 1949 and some improvements in 1954.

 

This slide presentation by Malcolm Beak shows some of the work done by the members to revive the track.


The Tamiya Truckers visit the Puffing Park.

Following a very well received talk about their activities at a recent club night the Tamiya Truckers were invited to visit the Puffing Field to run some of their 'off-road' vehicles over the varying terrain of the field.

The weather on Sunday 17th March, the day of their visit, was somewhat 'variable' but made for some interesting and challenging conditions for the truckers.

A short video of some of their visit can be seen here: