Club on track to build miniature railway in St Neots park

Riverside Minature Railway, Chairman Ivan Hewlett,

Riverside Minature Railway, Chairman Ivan Hewlett, - Credit: Archant

A unique vision to build a miniature railway on the site of a former pitch and putt course in St Neots has been put forward.

The Riverside Miniature Railway Club has put a proposal together which would offer a family-friendly attraction, but also a solution to the overgrown site in the town’s Riverside Park.

Ivan Hewlett, who started the club in April, said that if the railway was given the go-ahead it would provide a benefit for the community and visitors to the town.

“It was my idea originally as I have been involved with miniature railways for more than 30 years, but since we moved to St Neots I thought it is something that would be nice to set up in the town,” Mr Hewlett said.

The railway will be run on a not-for-profit basis by a group of volunteers from the club and will offer rides for an initial fare of £1 to children and adults.

“It is hoped that the project will develop over time to provide an attractive and fun amenity for our town and the wider district,” Mr Hewlett said.

According to the group, any extra funds that are not needed for the railway, at the end of each year, will be donated to youth organisations in St Neots.

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If the proposals are approved by Huntingdonshire District Council then the first stage of the development, which is likely to cost £20,000, will be a 300-metre long running track with a station, made from a shipping container.

“Notwithstanding issues with the planning process the club hopes to start development on the site a level where we are able to offer rides during 2017,” Mr Hewlett added.

The second stage of the project could see the line extended to 600 metres with money coming from rides and donations.

Mr Hewlett told The Hunts Post that he also hopes that there will be a longer ride available, at a distance of 1.2 kilometres which will be coined the Eynesbury Giant.

Along with the track and the station there will also be picnic tables and a workshop within the station for the club.

Mr Hewlett has submitted outline plans to Huntingdonshire District Council and the matter will also be discussed by St Neots town councillors.