MOORS Valley Railway will celebrate 30 years of steaming success with a special birthday weekend on September 17 and 18.

The south's longest, fully signalled, narrow gauge 7¼ steam railway has carried three million passengers since its launch in 1986 when the first train pulled out of Kingsmere Station at Moors Valley Country Park.

The weekend will see lots of action with a minimum of ten resident MVR engines in steam pulling passenger and freight trains and also four visiting locomotives from across the country.

Rover Tickets will allow passengers to travel on special service trains and visitors will also be able to view the engine and carriage sheds, goods yard and Kingsmere Station, which houses the railway’s model and gift shop. A special photographic timeline will provide a visual memory of each of the last thirty years.

The Moors Valley miniature railway opened on July 26 1986 after its founder, Jim Haylock, relocated the operation from Tucktonia in Christchurch.

It has been delighting families and steam enthusiasts alike ever since. Running alongside the Moors Lake and wildlife areas, the mile-long journey offers a view of the park and the chance to enjoy the ride, complete with smoke and tunnels.

A total of 25 staff and 35 volunteers aged between 13 and 90 keep the railway running.

Railway director and nephew of Jim Haylock, Tim Woron, said: "Over the last 30 years we have carried over 100,000 passengers per year through the beautiful Moors Valley Country Park.

"Our success has been due in no small part to the vision of my uncle Jim whose passion for narrow gauge steam engines has enthused hundreds of people over the years to get involved in railways.

"We were privileged to begin operation two years before the official opening of the Park itself, so as well as celebrating our own anniversary, we are looking forward to contributing to the park’s own 30th birthday in 2018."

The railway is open daily from June to mid September, and at weekends and school holidays from 10.45am to 5pm and 10.45am to 4.30pm from November to February.

For more information about the railway or Anniversary Gala go to or call 01425 471415. For more general information about Moors Valley Country Park go to