Dorset

Poole Park mini railway future 'in doubt'

Poole Park Railway
Image caption Poole Park Railway has recently been refurbished by the charity Friends of Poole Park

The future of a seaside miniature railway is in doubt after several derailments and the resignations of a number of volunteers.

Poole Park Railway was threatened with closure last year but reopened under new management in July.

The charity Friends of Poole Park took over running the 69-year-old attraction and refurbished the station, engine shed and track.

The borough council said it has now been suspended for safety reasons.

The railway was being run as a community interest company for the benefit of the park, and saw volunteers work as drivers, guards, and ticket office attendants.

Image copyright Carol Walker
Image caption The attraction, pictured here in 1988, was established in 1949

Borough of Poole council said the attraction's safe operation was its "prime concern".

"Following recent derailments the operation of the miniature railway has been suspended," it said.

The council added that it had been informed of resignations "at director, management and operational levels" of the community interest company.

The authority said it had "requested reassurance by mid June that the operators have the structure, governance and processes in place to safely manage this attraction".

It has also asked for a plan for repair works.

Friends of Poole Park has not yet responded to BBC requests for comment.

On its Facebook page, where there has been speculation that 40 volunteers have left, it said it was "awaiting the attendance of a specialist engineering company".

Commenting on the page, Tracy Coat Dunne said: "I've lived in Poole my whole life and have never known it closed as often as it has been of late. "

Image copyright Google
Image caption The railway is being run as a community interest company

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