Discussion in 'Miniature Railways' started by nick813, Jan 5, 2017.
Poole Park Railway up for a Tender March 2017.
An article in the Bournemouth Echo http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/ne..._to_close_as_council_looks_for_new_operators/
My two youngest will be rather sad.
I find it hard to imagine how you can do what the Council wants and then have reasonably priced tickets/make a profit.
I assume that the time has come to retender the line, but what the Council wants seems rather ambitious in a very short timescale, it would make more sense to rebuild the line over the winter of 2017/18
Seems doomed to me. The requirement to remove the track before it can be re tendered seems a little odd, surely it will make it so expensive it won't make economic sense so it will never be replaced, or is that the agenda? I cannot see how it can be made safe from a modern perspective and still maintain the charm it has running along side the path around the pond and crossing it at three points. Shame, as I have never actually been on it, even when the steam engine was running a few years ago.
I've never been to the Poole Park Railway, indeed I didn't know it existed until I read this post, but it seems to me that the council's statement in the local press; "The railway is a much-loved feature of Poole Park, therefore the council is keen to secure its future for many years to come." is rather at odds with their requirement that it's completely destroyed and the requirement for the new operator to start again totally from scratch.
With my cynical hat on, it seems like a cunning plan to get rid of something they don't really want any more.
Bit more news here:
I hope that they find a way through this situation. A splendid little railway on which I had many enjoyable rides back in the early 1960's when it was a steam railway. It would be a very great pity to lose it after all these years.
24 hrs notice!!! - http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/ne...dozens_watch_on_as_miniature_railway_cleared/
Poole Council is broke. They are desperate to raise money in any way possible so whether they think they can get more money out of someone else running the railway or even running it themselves I don't know. If this is the case someone in the council has some strange ideas how much an attraction like that costs to run and makes. He used to have the Santas grotto and a spring farm but the council took the Santa back in house and the spring farm has not happened for a few years (I do not know why). I notice the mardyke HST is going. This has been on the railway since the 1970's long before the current lease holder took it on. If all the stock goes how many people out there have a shed of ready to roll 10 1/4 stock, enough money and experience to relay the track etc, and be prepared not to make any money until 2018? I suspect they have killed the golden gosling. Mind you they are going to start to charge for carparking at the park, including disabled, so I suspect they will get the money back that way (not from me, I will just stop going)
Silver linings? New update. I do think that someone running a business for profit has a cheek to ask for crowd funding. It does suggest it isn't viable.
3% of the Crowd Funding target met so far.
I suspect that the business as a whole is viable, however the requirement to replace the track makes it not viable.
I don't know if there is anyone who has any knowledge about the state of the track or costs of relaying could comment on this
The state of the track never stroke (?) me as that bad. Yes the track is old but the train service is hardly frequent or fast (walking pace at best) so I cannot image that much wear in some parts the sleepers are buried but are metal where they are visible so gauge should be OK. He did a lot a fundraising to buy the steam loco and then charged more to travel on it, given he was operating a business and not a charity I think it is wrong to ask for the pubic to give money, if it was viable why can't money be obtained from the bank? The line is 700yds long which is 640m. Having a quick look on the internet suggests that the cost of rail would be around 18K (including sleepers) plus labour to remove old track and relay, (so double it to £36K) off set by sale of scrap track. Then you have the fencing (£??) and if demanded some form of level crossing as it crosses the footpath four times (£?????), more if you include the short spur to the engine shed which runs in the path, then you have to think there will be no earnings in 2017 as it is relaid. I doubt it will be coming back and by doing it this way the council can say that it was commercial reasons it went rather then health and safety (insurance/liability?).
I do not know why Poole have made the decision to kill the railway. Given that they are going to make the carparks around the park P&P at £1 an hour maybe they are waiting for no one to visit the park so they can sell the land off for housing! (no I am NOT being serious).
There's a statement by Poole Council available at http://www.poole.gov.uk/leisure-and...and-open-spaces/poole-park-miniature-railway/ which gives a bit more detail - perhaps more accurate than the reports generated in the local rag by the previous operator.
Interesting points from it:
Keef report following derailment in early 2015 recommended full replacement of track
Operation of the railway suspended after another derailment in November 2016
Search for a new operator started last autumn!
I suspect that the previous operator made many promises about sorting out the track but never delivered on them, and consequently the council have called his bluff by putting it out to tender.
Will be interesting to see what happens; as a historic miniature line I hope it will end up in sympathetic hands, and it looks like the council are pretty committed to its long term future.
Thanks for that, very interesting and promising. They second derailment in 2016 I have not seen reported anywhere else.
It does rather put the thing in a new light
The railway at Clevedon was, I understand rebuilt recently so it can be done
Very positive report in the local free paper this week saying that the council are expecting the railway to run this year and that a new operator will be in place by May.
Local rag are reporting the tendering process has been delayed - see link.
One of the comments below the article - and of course you have to read local paper articles and comments with a pinch of salt! - appears to shed a bit more light on the situation:
If true it appears the council may have been greedy and shot themselves in the foot. What a shame.
Good news. The new tender has been awarded to Friends of Poole Park which are a charity. This was on the BBC local news page.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-39710748
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