POOLE Park's miniature railway will almost certainly not be up and running by the summer, despite council officials stating that was their intention when they brought the troubled attraction back in-house last year.

Borough of Poole (BOP) councillors agreed to invest £350,000 into the railway in October, last year, with a view to having it running again by summer 2019.

But with just two-and-a-half months until the schools break for summer holidays, the new BCP Council concedes a summer opening is now "unlikely."

The council has only just confirmed they will be "shortly going out to tender" for the track and engine shed, and a separate tender will then need to go out for the train and carriages.

Meanwhile, some of this may require planning permission, which will add more time onto the project.

Park visitor Janet Reynolds told the Echo: "It has been one thing or another with this railway, and it is only supposed to be a children's attraction.

"I think it is reasonably clear it won't be opened for business for the peak months, but hopefully it can be sorted out by the end of the year.

"I suppose, given the recent history, it is better to get it right than to rush things."

Another park visitor said: "It is not surprising really, not with the council merger and everything else that has been happening with that.

"At least there is a commitment to get it running for the youngsters again though."

Council bosses terminated their contract with the Friends of Poole Park (FoPP) in June, last year, after the charity was put on notice and the service suspended the previous month following derailments and a mass walkout by volunteers and staff.

The FoPP charity had been awarded the contact to operate the attraction the previous year, but BOP decided to bring the railway back under council control to ensure its future.

The railway has now been out of operation since May 2018.

However, this week, BCP Council recreation manager Anthony Rogers said: "This is an exciting time for Poole Park with lots going on and the council is committed to ensuring that the Poole Park Railway is operational as soon as possible.

"We have been carrying out detailed ground investigations and design work for the new track and train shed. We are now getting to the stage where we will be shortly going out to tender for the railway track and engine shed and issuing a separate tender for the train and carriages.

"Once we have received and evaluated the tenders we should be in a better position to advise when this popular attraction may be up and running for local people and visitors to once again enjoy, although this is unlikely to be this summer."

  • Earlier this week the Echo reported on the continuing Hengistbury Head land train saga

This once popular attraction, also known as the Noddy Train, has now been out of action for six months.

It closed in October, last year, following an incident involving a cyclist, a women in her 60s, and concerns have mounted over its future.

However, according to a leaked BCP Council document, the Noddy Train is here to stay, with the aim of using the original trains in the long term