Mini railway operator given notice to leave by garden centre

The group behind a miniature railway that has operated at a garden centre for 34 years has been given notice to quit.

The operators of Brookside Railway, based at the Poynton’s Brookside Garden Centre, have been told that the last trains will run on Sunday, September 30.

However, the owners of the garden centre has said that the railway will reopen following a refurbishment, but it is not known who will run it.

Neither the garden centre – which is owned by Klondyke and Strikes -nor the railway operator were available for comment as the Express went to press.

But a statement on their railway’s website: “Unfortunately after 34 years on site the current operator of the railway has been given notice to quit by the owners of the garden centre. The last trains will run on Sunday September 30th 2018.

“Thank you for all your support over the years.

“Why not come along for one last ride? (or maybe lots of rides!!!) “

The miniature railway has been an ever-present at the London Road North centre, since its first journey in 1980.

Brookside Garden Centre have since confirmed on their Facebook page the closure will not be permanent and that the railway would reopen.

In a statement on their Facebook page the garden centre said the move is due to a ‘change in ownership’.

It read: “The railway will not be permanently closing. It will be undergoing a refurbishment and a change of ownership. The people who run the train at the moment have done an excellent job over many years and I’m sure everybody will be very sad to see them change.

“This decision has been made between the Garden Centre’s head office and the railway.

“We all hope the new train continues to be successful for many years to come.”

Since it was first opened the miniature railway has undergone a number of refurbishments and the track extended to half a mile.

More than 1,000 comments have been made on social media expressing their shock and confusion as to the future of the railway.

Charlotte Fazackerley responded to the garden centre’s announcement on their Facebook site and said she hopes they change their mind.

She wrote: “I hope you will rethink serving notice to current provider of trains – they are a national treasure and very much at the heart of the garden centre, please stay true to your roots.”

Mike Holt added: “Really sad that you have to give notice to the team who have done a wonderful job over many years.”

Jayne Simpson Clancy said she would be sad to see the steam engines go.

She wrote: “Shame. It’s a lovely railway; especially the steamies and the evocative memorabilia.

The railway staff are lovely too.” Helen Wood said she used to spend a lot of time on the railways and had lunch at the centre.

She wrote on Brookside Miniature Railway’s Facebook page: “Ah that’s so sad. What a shame. We used to go there just for the train and then spend a load in the cafe on lunch.”

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