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Fans chuffed at Cutteslowe Park train track expansion plan
IT HAS been chugging along for a quarter of a century and now a mini-railway in one of Oxford’s parks could be set to expand.
Since 1988 Cutteslowe Park has been home to the attraction, which during the spring and summer months delights youngsters by taking them for a ride.
But the railway, run by the City of Oxford Society of Model Engineers (COSME), could be marking its landmark birthday by becoming bigger.
Sue Mulford, treasurer of COSME, said: “It is still very much up in the air. At the moment the mini-railway only goes around in circles so we are hoping to make it a bit more exciting. “The plan is to go down towards the play area but we would have to cross a few of the paths in the park to do so.
“There are still a few people who are not for it, so until we have got them on board we won’t go anywhere.”
Cutteslowe Park’s play area opened last April after Oxford City Council, which owns the park, spent £100,000 turning a disused bowls green into a fun-filled zone for children aged over eight.
The mini-railway used to be based at Blenheim Palace but moved to Oxford, where it has a clubhouse and a carriage shed, because the society was unable to meet the palace’s request to run every day.
By 2005 the railway was carrying 20,000 people a year. Now based at Cutteslowe the railway runs on Sundays during the spring and summer months. This year’s first day will be on Easter Sunday.
Ms Mulford said: “The railway has been very popular since it moved to Cutteslowe and I think most people in the area are quite fond of it. We are hoping to have a little celebration in July for our anniversary.
“But to expand we need funding first and we don’t know how much it is going to cost.”
Members of COSME, which was set up in 1946, bring their own model trains to the track on days when it is open and sometimes there are up to 14 operating at any one time.
The society has submitted a planning application to the city council for the expansion. Council spokesman Louisa Dean said the plans were at an early stage.