POOLE Park’s miniature railway has been temporarily shut down by council officials following a derailment which took place last month.

Exact details of the derailment have not been released but the Echo understands it occurred around three weeks ago when a number of youngsters were riding on the attraction.

The Friends of Poole Park, who won the contract to operate the railway last year, have been unavailable for comment.

However, Borough of Poole’s recreation and community manager Anthony Rodgers confirmed: “Following a recent derailment, the licence for the Poole Park Miniature Railway has been suspended until further notice.

“We are considering future arrangements in discussion with the operator, The Friends of Poole Park.”

Meanwhile, Nick Davis, of the ark Poole Park - the soft play centre and cafe located next to the railway - said the closure was bad for business.

He told the Echo: “Since the train derailed three weeks ago everything has been hushed up.

“This attraction should be open every day, we need it to open as the closure is affecting business.

“There is supposed to be two people on the train, one on the front and one at the back. That way, if it starts to tilt the one at the back can inform the driver.

“Apparently there was only the driver and people were shouting at him to warn him but he couldn’t hear.”

Mr Davis also said if the attraction couldn’t be safely run by The Friends of Poole Park, they should not be allowed to continue operating the railway.

The miniature railway reopened last summer, after being out of action for nearly nine months.

At that time The Friends of Poole Park held a ‘grand opening’ after winning the tender from Poole council to operate the miniature attraction for 30 years.

Speaking on that occasion in his role as chairman of the Friends, Michael Collins said: “The miniature railway is something that is very important to this town.”

Poole Park Railway first opened in 1949 and was built by George Vimpany. His widow, Beryl, 91, helped officially reopen the railway alongside the Mayor of Poole Lindsay Wilson.