Plea for volunteers otherwise park's mini railway will be 'history'

Families taking advantage of the sunshine at the Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction

Families taking advantage of the sunshine at the Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction - Credit: NDSME

It encompasses nostalgia and family fun - attracting thousands of people in the summer sun and Christmas holidays alike.

But if more volunteers don't come forward a popular and affordable park attraction may not be on offer to future generations.

Volunteers and visitors having fun on the Eaton Park Miniature Railway in Norwich

Volunteers and visitors having fun on the Eaton Park Miniature Railway in Norwich - Credit: NDSME

Eaton Park Miniature Railway, run by around 40 volunteers from the Norwich and District Society of Model Engineers (NDSME), aims to operate its steam, diesel and electric models every Sunday.

Mark Rhodes on a vehicle on the Eaton Park Miniature Railway

Mark Rhodes on a vehicle on the Eaton Park Miniature Railway - Credit: NDSME

Mark Rhodes, publicity officer for the NDSME which has 100 members, said: "It is fun running the passenger railway for the public.

"People join our society for all sorts of reasons. It encompasses all sorts of hobbies from clock makers to railway engine building.

"Our railway volunteers are predominantly older and getting involved isn't all about driving the trains. It is about maintaining the site, which includes cutting back a large hedge.

"In recent years we have lost a lot of experience, which is valuable. We have to think what is going to happen in 10 to 15 years.

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"We don't want the railway to become a bit of park history because there is no one to run it. The first priority is to look after what we have here."

People enjoying the Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction

People enjoying the Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction - Credit: NDSME

The society first started running model trains on a test track in Eaton Park in 1959 but it evolved and in 2006 it opened up to passengers.

The opening of the Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction in 2006

The opening of the Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction in 2006 - Credit: NDSME

Visitors can now enjoy one lap of the 800-metre track on one of the society's trains which run at 6mph.

"We don't want people to go too fast. We want them to have a nice enjoyable time. Tickets are pocket money prices. Children love the trains as do adults," Mr Rhodes added.

The Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction in action

The Eaton Park Miniature Railway attraction in action - Credit: NDSME

The train enthusiast said the attraction was an asset to the park, along with the cafe and crazy golf, and being in the green space made people feel as though they were in the countryside.

Volunteers hope to run the attraction from 11.30am to 4.30pm, as long as the weather is good.

Norwich and District Society of Model Engineers member Liz Wass on a miniature engine

Norwich and District Society of Model Engineers member Liz Wass on a miniature engine - Credit: NDSME

In January passenger numbers averaged between 300 and 400 each day it was running.

For more details about volunteering visit https://ndsme.org