For nearly 60 years the Watford Miniature Railway in Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire, has entertained and enthralled generations of youngsters. Up until 2007 part of the magic of the Watford Miniature Railway was to see real steam locomotives in action at weekends and bank holidays, but sadly this came to an end when the last operating steamer, 'Chiltern Shuttle' dropped its fire for the final time and was confined to the back of the shed. Now, a decade later, we want to restore steam to the Watford Miniature Railway, to introduce a new generation of children to the wonders of steam locomotives and the marvellous engineering behind them. The main project will be to purchase and restore loco no. 4179 'Chiltern Shuttle', an 0-6-0 'Switcher' type locomotive built by R.Morse in 1946, which has been based on the railway for nearly 30 years. Once purchased and restored, a hire agreement will be sought from the current owner of the railway to operate the locomotive regularly at the WMR.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Myself and many other people were first introduced to steam locomotives at the Watford Miniature Railway. As a young person I was always drawn in by the magical sight, smell and sound of steam, and I later went on to volunteer then work on the railway for many years, through all seasons. The enchanting sight of a steam engine is timeless and fascinating, no matter how big or small, and steam's popularity has been given a new lease of life in recent years with the building of 'Tornado' and the restoration of 'Flying Scotsman' which are both now household names. The Watford Miniature Railway and its steam locomotives were responsible for stimulating my interest in engineering, which I later went on to take up as a career. If we are to go forward as a country we need to inspire a whole new generation of engineers and scientists, and there is no better way, nothing more visceral than a steam engine to stimulate that interest.
Steps to get it done:
The new operator of the Watford Miniature Railway, Southern Miniature Railways, is fully supportive of this scheme: http://minirail.co.uk/ All restoration work would be undertaken or project-managed by the creator of this project, a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, also the Head of Mechanical Engineering for a major UK heritage railway.
About the space
Watford Borough Council
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