Dorset

Hengistbury Head land train replaced amid bike crash probe

Land train at Hengistbury Head Image copyright Chris Downer
Image caption More than 21,000 people signed a petition in 2014, urging the council to keep the wooden train

A land train that has been running at a Dorset beauty spot for half a century is to be temporarily replaced amid an ongoing accident investigation.

The train at Hengistbury Head has been suspended since October when a trailer detached and collided with a cyclist.

It gained nationwide attention in 2014 when 21,000 people signed a petition against council plans to replace it.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council said it was not yet clear whether it would be reintroduced.

BCP's predecessor, Bournemouth Borough Council, came under fire in 2014 when it announced plans to replace the privately-owned wooden train to make the service wheelchair-friendly.

The plans were scrapped after the petition in support of its owner at the time, Joyce Farris, who had been running the train since the death of her husband, who launched the service in 1969.

The authority took over the running of the wooden train in 2015.

Following October's accident, Bournemouth Borough Council voluntarily suspended the service until the outcome of a Health and Safety Executive investigation.

Petition

A minibus has instead been ferrying visitors along the route between Hengistbury Head car park and Mudeford Spit.

BCP Council, which took over from Bournemouth Borough Council last month, said an interim service using one of its seafront trains would run from 10:00 to 17:00 BST daily.

The service uses one of the smaller seafront trains, rather than the more traditional wooden train that was previously used.

Contracts manager Edward Alexander said: "We are currently planning to operate this service until we know the outcome of the HSE investigation, after which we'll be in a position to know whether we can reintroduce the traditional trains."

A new petition against the introduction of the interim train has so far gathered about 540 signatures.

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