Worden Park’s mini railway gets £10,000 boost

The railway in Worden Park, run by the Leyland Society of Model Engineers
The railway in Worden Park, run by the Leyland Society of Model Engineers
Share this article

Worden Park’s popular miniature railway has been given a £10,000 boost to install a platform for disabled passengers and to buy six new coaches.

The Leyland Society of Model Engineers (LSME) has received the grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme.

The cash will mean better access can be provided to the wheelchair friendly coach, and allow more visitors to enjoy the busy facility.

LSME treasurer, Mike Heathcote, said: “Since the introduction of the wheelchair friendly coach in 2009, and its existence becoming better known, we are pleased to say that demand for its use has increased every year.

“The new platform will make it easier and smoother for wheelchair users and their helpers to get on and off the train.

“The grant will also help us to build six new standard passenger coaches to help us cope with the ever increasing numbers of children and adults using the service.

“We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund as this will enable us to offer a better service to all who wish to visit us and take a ride on our beautiful miniature railway.”

The miniature steam railway track, which first opened 59 years ago, boasts 1,617 feet of raised level track, and a kilometre of ground level track with a station, two roads, sidings and a reversing loop.

Many of the models have been built in garages and garden sheds and in the past have been entirely funded, built, maintained and operated by the society’s volunteers.

Mr Heathcote said: “The rides are free but we do have donation boxes and the public have been generous in their support knowing that their donations all go towards the upkeep of the facility.”

He said the new coaches will be of steel moncoque construction with foot rests and upholstered seats.

They will be fitted with ‘fail safe’ air brakes and compliment the fleet of existing passenger coaches.

With steam as the favourite motive power, but with petrol engines being popular too, the fleet ranges from simple two-stroke engines to precise working models of the Rolls Royce Merlin and similar engines of wartime fame.