Miniature train back on the tracks at park

Mini train 5 SUS-160216-095256001

Mini train 5 SUS-160216-095256001

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The miniature railway in Alexandra Park was reopened last Saturday after being restored by an enthusiast.

Hastings Mayor Cllr Bruce Dowling and Cllr Warren Davies, lead member for the environment, were on hand to perform the honours for the opening ceremony.

Mini train 3 SUS-160216-095232001

Mini train 3 SUS-160216-095232001

The railway was originally opened in 1980, with a second loop built in the late 1980s. Originally mixed gauge (3 ½”, 5”, and 7 ¼”), the line was operated on an occasional basis by local model engineers, but their use stopped early last year, and the track and buildings fell into disrepair.

The operation was taken over late last year by Dan Radcliffe, who runs Hastings Miniature Railway on the town’s seafront. He has completely overhauled the line, re-ballasting and relaying the track, to 7 ¼” gauge.

The double loop layout remains, complete with tunnel. The line now operates petrol and battery electric locos.

The first train to operate on the line’s reopening, a VIP special conveying Cllr Davies, the Mayor and other guests, was pulled by an 0-6-0 petrol loco built by RVM Engineering, Dan Radcliffe’s own company.

Mini train 2 SUS-160216-095219001

Mini train 2 SUS-160216-095219001

Cllr Warren Davies said: “I was very pleased indeed to be able to re-open this railway. Alexandra Park is a real jewel in the town’s crown, and the railway will attract even more visitors to it, which is wonderful.

“We had received complaints from concerned residents when the railway fell into disrepair last year, and it is great that Dan has been able to add this operation to his one on the seafront.”

The Mayor, Cllr Bruce Dowling, added: “I used to be the park supervisor in the 1980s, and remember the line being built. I had been saddened when the operation stopped last year, and was honoured to be asked to cut the ribbon on Saturday to re-open the railway, and then travel on the first train.”

The re-opening took place on a wet and windy day but that did not stop a number of excited youngsters and their parents from enjoying a ride.

Mini Train 1 SUS-160216-095206001

Mini Train 1 SUS-160216-095206001

The attraction is open on weekends through the year, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during school holidays, and Bank Holiday Mondays.

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Re-opening of Hastings Miniature Railway in Alexandra Park, 13/2/16. Mayor Bruce Dowling. SUS-160214-165137001

Re-opening of Hastings Miniature Railway in Alexandra Park, 13/2/16. Mayor Bruce Dowling. SUS-160214-165137001

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Re-opening of Hastings Miniature Railway in Alexandra Park, 13/2/16. SUS-160214-165121001

Re-opening of Hastings Miniature Railway in Alexandra Park, 13/2/16. SUS-160214-165121001