Hurrah!! After twenty-two years in Swindon I made it to the miniature railway at Coate Water. It was great. And when the extension is finished and it runs all the way to the Richard Jefferies museum it will be even more wicked! As the nearly-two-year-old I was with said “Choo choo’:
Regular listeners will know, from my blog post about the Hooter Express, that I love a miniature railway. Which makes it all the more surprising that I’ve never managed to get my butt into gear and take a trip on the Coate Water miniature railway – something I really must address.
Just this evening I was reading the Link magazine (find them on Facebook here) and came across a small piece about the railway. Would you believe that 2015 marks the FIFTIETH birthday of the railway? Blimey!
The article explains that, fifty years ago, the railway consisted of a short raised track with no facilities – everything having to be brought to the site. Water included. Work is now underway to build an extension to the line which will go down to the Richard Jefferies museum and back. It’s hoped that this extension will be open to the public by 2016. Funding for all the railway’s projects come from ticket sales so, as the article exhorts, the more you visit and ride the trains the sooner the group’s plans can be completed. A piece of advice I need to take myself.
The cost of a ride is £1.20 and more information can be found on this website from the North Wilts Model engineering society http://northwiltsmes.wix.com/coate-water-railway#!:
‘The NWMES was founded in the early 1960s by a small band of enthusiasts interested in the building and running of miniature steam locomotives. The land was leased, and a small loop of track, with a steaming bay, was constructed on the present site at Coate Water Country Park, Swindon, Wiltshire. In the early days there was nothing else on the site and everything, including water, had to be brought to the track for each running session.’
Opening times and other information can be found here: http://northwiltsmes.wix.com/coate-water-railway#!opening-&-parties
I found this piece of film on YouTube from someone called GWR Andy – it’s just as if you were there…
There’s lots of great reasons to visit Coate Water – aside from the railway and seeing the listed concrete diving platform. It has lovely walks, is a nature reserve and an area of scientific interest. Visit Swindon Web to find out more – and also Swindon Borough Council’s site: http://www.swindon.gov.uk/lc/lc-parks/lc-parks-list/lc-parks-list-coate/Pages/lc-parks-list-coate.aspx