Councillor offers potential lifeline to miniature railway

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 September 2018

Ashton Court Miniature Railway

Ashton Court Miniature Railway

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A miniature railway on the brink of closure could be saved by North Somerset Council if a suitable new site can be found for it.

Ashton Court Model Railway.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTONAshton Court Model Railway. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The future of Ashton Court Miniature Railway is under threat with Bristol City Council, which owns the land, considering not renewing the lease past the end of 2018.

The attraction has been run by the Bristol Society of Model & Experimental Engineers (BSMEE) since 1972, but the city council says it does not make much money and is looking to increase income at the site.

However, the railway could be handed a lifeline by another authority as North Somerset executive member David Pasley is keen to find it a new home in the district.

Cllr Pasley said: “A month ago I was approached by one of their team and asked if North Somerset Council would be interested in helping them find an alternative home. My immediate reaction was to offer to meet them and to look at potential homes such as Portishead.

Ashton Court Miniature RailwayAshton Court Miniature Railway

“I conferred with our officers and colleagues, and their reaction was the same as mine – we want to help them.

“Although Ashton Court is in North Somerset the site is owned by Bristol City Council, over which we have no control.

“I think it will be very short-sighted if Bristol City Council is prepared to lose the railway, but it will be North Somerset Council’s gain.

“A number of locations come to mind and if they are interested I will be very pleased to set up meetings and site visits to move matters forward.”

Railway fans have launched a petition in an attempt to save the attraction.

BSMEE chairman Norman Rogers said: “Bristol City Council believes it can raise more money through introducing alternative activities to the site, hence the threat to the railway. In effect, BSMEE and its railway are at risk of being priced out of the park.”

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