The Poole Park mini railway has been effectively nationalised by its local council, after a long-running dispute over improvement costs, a licence suspension and the odd minor derailment threatened to close it for good.
The Borough of Poole Council has stepped in with £350,000 and will take over as main operator of the railway, which has been delighting grown men and children alike since 1949. A charity had previously taken over the operation, but was deemed unable to cope with the legislative demands that come with running small trains and meeting current health and safety standards. Hence the council stepping in, despite previously demanding the tracks were completely ripped up so the entire outfit could be put up for tender anew.
The hyperlocal nationalisation will allow new money to be spent on track and slow-rolling stock, improving access for the disabled and guaranteeing the future of the critical rail link that takes tourists and locals between Poole Park station and the duck pond, via a small bridge. [BBC]