The society was formed in 1956 by a small group of Wakefield MRS members who's interest lay in larger scale live steam models. funds were raised y attending various local galas and events with a portable track.
Negotiations with the City of Wakefield resulted in a site in Tnornes Park being made available and track laying commenced on a broadly circular formation of raised level 5" and 3 1/2" gauge track and this was completed in 1958.
By the early 1970s, several members had become interested in, and were constructing larger 7 1/4" gauge models, and permission was obtained to extend the track layout by building a 7 1/4" gauge ground level track around the outside of the existing layout. This also incorporated some testing gradients for our locomotives to tackle!
Following this, the raised track was totally relaid on the existing concrete beams.
Unfortunately, after a few years, the concrete was showing signs of serious decay, and a decision was taken to totally remove the raised track and extend the ground level to incorporate a 5" gauge and double the available running length.
This has remained the layout from completion in the mid 1980s until the present day.
The loss of the raised track was a disappointment to those members who had smaller locomotives, some of whom left to join other societies, while other members with 7 1/4" gauge locos joined.
Over the years the subject of re-instating a raised track was discussed several times, with no resolution.
In late 2018, we were made aware the Barnsley SMEE had been given notice to vacate their site at Clayton West, at the Kirklees Light Railway, and had taken the decision to wind up their society, due to the age profile of their members and a reluctance to find an alternative site and start again.
The track was offered to us at a very reasonable price, but a quick response was required. the committee took the decision to take advantage of the offer, which was really too good to miss, and to relay this track within the current site. We hoped that our excellent relationship with Wakefield MDC would lead to them agreeing to this proposal, and this has proved to be the case.
The track was removed from Clayton west in Late December by a small group of our members, with the co-operation and assistance of the Barnsley society members. We also invited Barnsley members to join us at Wakefield, and, happily, several of them are now very welcome members of Wakefield SMEE.
After being given the go-ahead for our plans, work is now underway in re-laying and extending the former Barnsley society track at Thornes Park. this will involve some technical (and physical!) problems for our aging "workforce" but is making excellent progress.
We have not ruled out a future expansion of the ground level track, although there are no firm plans to do so.