THE ANNUAL bonfire night party by Keighley model train enthusiasts has gone up in smoke.

Keighley and District Model Engineers has been forced to cancel its long-established Plot Night ‘steam-up’.

In the past families were able to ride on model steam locomotives during an evening involving a bonfire, fireworks and pie and pea supper.

Club spokesman Dave Aston said rising insurance premiums meant the club, which has a half-mile railway track next to Marley playing fields, had to reconsider holding the event.

He said: “With much regret we are cancelling the evening 'pie and peas and trains in the dark' and just holding a normal running of trains on the afternoon of Sunday, November 5.

“The night-time event was very popular so maybe if people let us know if they would still attend if the risk elements of bonfire and fireworks were removed, then we could plan for next year.”

Bonfire night was traditionally the club’s last public running of trains until the following spring, but last year a trial ‘running session’ was held last year between Christmas and New Year .

Mr Aston said: “It was popular, so we have decided to do the same again this year. This will happen on Friday December, 29.”

The two events will end a year that began with tragedy for the club when its long-serving secretary Keith Parkin died unexpectedly.

Mr Aston said: “As well as all the knowledge of running the club we lost a good friend.

"We struggled a bit at first after Keith died and another couple of older members not being able to take part, but we have had some new members get involved recently.

“Two of Keith’s locos were purchased for use by club members, particularly juniors, and one has been named in his honour.

“The difficult decision was made at the beginning of the season that we would not have the resources to run our portable track at fetes this year, so apologies to those who expected to see us out and about, particularly our regulars at Harden and East Morton.”

Members focused on regular Sunday running days at their own track, and Mr Aston said the weather was kind for the public events.

He added: “We have had a number of new locos from our members, as well as visiting engines from other clubs. We also have a few new members this year.”

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