Poole Park future in doubt

THE 10¼in-gauge railway in Poole Park, Dorset, closed in November with uncertainty over reopening this year. The 660-yard circular lakeside line opened in 1949 and has been operated by owner Chris Bullen since 2004.

Two new locos have been acquired for the Poole Park Railway under the present ownership: Exmoor Steam Railway 0-4-2T George and a rare Exmoor diesel loco, steam-outline 0-4-2DH Elizabeth, supplied new in 2014, as seen here. Fencing this railway in its current location around the lake would be virtually impossible as it runs for most of its length within open parkland. It has been enjoyed safely as such, by people and waterfowl, for nearly 70 years. PETER NICHOLSON

The Borough of Poole (BOP) is obliged to put future operation out to competitive tender as the present lease on the land expires on March 1. BOP insisted the site be cleared to avoid discouraging other potential operators.

Mr Bullen was given 24-hours’ notice in January to remove two locos, carriages and other equipment from the shed. He was able to do this and it is believed the stock is now in secure storage at Bournemouth Airport.

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The council was told that if the track, also owned by Mr Bullen, was removed any future operator would have to fence the railway when new track was laid as ‘grandfather rights’ of being unfenced would be forfeited.

Read more in the March issue of The RM – out now!

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