THE popular miniature railway at Poole Park has been temporarily closed after a carriage overturned and a passenger had to be taken to hospital.

The incident took place on Monday and Borough of Poole immediately suspended the railway's operations and launched an investigation into what happened and why.

It occurred when the engine towing three carriages was on its third circular trip of the day around the lake in the Victorian Park. The first two trips were completed safely.

However on the train's next tour of the lake, the third carriage, in which three passengers were travelling, tipped over onto its side.

One passenger was taken to hospital as a precaution but was discharged after being checked over by doctors, said Borough of Poole.

Council officers are now working with the operator of Poole Park Railway to establish the cause of the incident and ensure the train can continue to operate safely.

"We are conducting a thorough investigation to make sure the incident does not occur again and we hope to give the operator permission to re-open as soon as we are able," said Kevin McErlane, head of culture and community learning, Borough of Poole.

"We appreciate the public's patience whilst this service is out of action."

The Daily Echo was unable to contact Chris Bullen, who operates the railway.

The miniature railway has been delighting visitors to the park since 1949. It caters for many thousands of children and their parents each year, enjoying trips in carriages pulled by steam and diesel engines around the track.

Special events are also held at the trackside station during the year with Easter generally celebrated with an animal farm, which has proved very popular with youngsters.

After 10 years of running trains to Santa's grotto, complete with live reindeer in the park, last Christmas Borough of Poole decided in favour of a rival grotto set up in the cricket pavilion, which was transformed into a log cabin, by The Ark, the park's café and indoor play centre operators.

Chris Bullen and Kris Hall, who runs the landtrain, joined forces and set up a successful grotto five miles away at Upton Country Park.