France, Longjumeau Group

In France, a country twice the size of the UK with roughly the same population, there are only about 45 G1MRA members. There are other G1 enthusiasts in France but for various reasons they don’t all belong to G1MRA, often because of the language barrier.
In late 2009 a small group of live steam enthusiasts founded the Essonne Vapeur Club 45. Essonne is the department or county, 45 is for the 45mm track. To attract members we opened the club to anybody running live steam on 45mm track. In the autumn of 2011 we were very fortunate to secure the support of the Longjumeau municipality (about 20km La Chimerasouth of Paris) who not only offered us the use of a gymnasium once a month but also modified an adjoining storage room to house our portable layouts – we had two by now. We were in business. Even in winter!
By the end of 2012 we had 30 members running a mix of G1 and 16mm. The seven G1MRA members make up the Longjumeau Group, France. None of us has a G1 garden layout. We meet monthly on a Saturday or a Sunday in the gymnasium and participate in exhibitions elsewhere in France.
Several members have built locos from scratch, and five members are currently looking into the possibility of building a batch of G1 Atlantics.
We are a very young club and are a long way from the beautifully matched trains we see in the N&J. Our aim is simply to run, so most of our trains will make a purist shudder. You can see what we get up to by typing EVC45 into Google. But be warned! If the sight of such things as a plucky Mamod pulling a gleaming J&M CIWL coach on lumpy track on a shiny baseboard makes you choke on your cornflakes DON’T WATCH.
But if you can bear it you are welcome to come along and join in the fun. Contact Jacques Cabeza or Hugh Hutchinson.

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