Britain’s biggest model railway makes tracks back to 1983

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Plough on he did. Mr George, from Ripon, North Yorks, made a pictorial map of the area using some 400 photographs found online alongside his own images and memories.

He started making the model at home, focusing on one small section at a time. When it became too big, he realised the project was going to need serious investment of both time and money.

In 2017, he sold his share of a supercar driving experience company and leased the basement of a large mill to house the track, which he then focused on full time. The Covid pandemic and lockdown gave him even more scope to “move it into fifth gear”.

When he met his girlfriend last year, Mr George feared she would run a mile if he told her about his project. Instead, he said he was a wine merchant, leasing the space for his business. “Model railways don’t have a great reputation,” he said. “I didn’t want her to leave me in horror.”

However, his plan backfired when his girlfriend decided to surprise him at work and turned up at the basement unannounced. “She was shocked,” he admitted. “She wondered where all the wine was, but actually she really appreciated the detail and the artistic element. It’s like a huge picture in 3D because it’s of a real place”.

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