Uivernest (2007)

Jan van Mourik

Uivernest by Jan van Mourik has a remarkable history. Long ago Jan built a model flying club - not much more than a square field with a fence and a small hut, featuring a rotating figure holding a wire-controlled model aeroplane on a piece of piano wire. Originally it looked like a mosquito flying round on a string, which I remember prompted Judy Turner (Ian and she were at the same show) to appear with a folded newspaper threatening to swat the little midget… After a few years, Jan decided to lay a narrow gauge railway round the field, and a bit of "interference" by Henk Wust created a fully scenic diorama where the visitors to the model aeroplane show travel by narrow gauge train to their destination.

Uivernest (Stork’s nest) is on the site of the former terminus of a rural tramway in this area. In days gone by this narrow gauge line transported agricultural products and livestock to the market in town. Passengers were carried on a modest scale, any other form of transport lacking in the area. When, over the years, roads were constructed and the local authorities formed one front against that smoking and steaming monster, seeing more benefit in the competitive lorry and bus traffic, the tramway was closed in spite of massive opposition by the population. In most places the infrastructure remained, because there was no reason to break it down since it was not in anyone’s way.

Shortly after the tram service was terminated, some enthusiasts founded a preservation group rescuing the old rolling stock and the remaining parts of the tramway track from demolition and the scrap yard. Support by one or two wealthy locals enabled the group to save most of the rolling stock and equipment for future generations. All this is stored in a big shed elsewhere on the line. The preservation group calls itself ROLL (= Rescue Our Little Line) and is dedicated to restore part of the former tramway to working order. Meanwhile they obtained the status of an official museum, which enables them to set up a proper museum using Government grants.

During summer weekends and local holidays the preservation society now runs a museum service over part of the former tramway which was restored to working order. The ticket sales for these rides bring in some extra money. The station’s name Uivernest was chosen by the museum foundation because the local model aeroplane club "De Uiver" (The Stork) rents a meadow from a local farmer. The club can fly their noisy models here without disturbing anyone. The model aeroplane club’s name honours the KLM DC2 named Uiver, which took part in the London – Melbourne air race in 1934. The name was chosen during the inaugural meeting.

The character of the era is the early fifties of the last century, when radio-control of model airplanes was still very immature and most of the model pilots flew their planes by wire control. By means of a set of thin steel cables the pilot can control the throttle and the elevator of the aeroplane. The machine circles around the pilot, who is standing in the middle of the airfield. At this very moment there is an open day at the model airfield, with lots of demonstrations performed by various model aeroplanes and club members explaining the different aspects of the hobby. The visitors have arrived on their bikes or by steam tram. A demonstration is going on involving a wire-controlled Tiger Moth biplane. Only a few minutes ago Peter Good Business, owner of the grocery shop, showed us that the new phenomenon of radio-control is rather prone to interference, with disastrous effects as he has landed his expensive glider in a tree.

The standard gauge railway embankment has not been used for many years - the railway company stores redundant stock here, in this case a refrigerator van of the Frico dairy factory, which has unfortunately been set on fire. The perpetrators have not been caught yet, but a group of local toughs are suspected to know more about the incident - they must have burnt the thing as a flaming protest against everything concerned with drinking milk...

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