Full steam ahead for the Craigtoun express

Miniature railway at Craigtoun Park
Miniature railway at Craigtoun Park

The next train standing at Craigtoun Country Park, on the edges of St Andrews, is the sight seeing trip around the popular visitor attraction.

Thanks to a partnership between Fife Council and MRW Railways, the miniature railway will be operating daily again from July 2 through to August 28.

Following the local authority’s recent decision to offer free entry to the park this summer - but without additional entertainment facilities - Peter Bryant, of MRW Railways, offered the services of his company to look at putting together a package to allow the train to continue operating.

Anxious to see the facility maintained as one of the assets of the park, the council negotiated an agreed contract which will enable MRW Railways to operate the miniature set-up and Mr Bryant has lined up a replacement Denver and Rio Grande steam outline locomotive to run the three carriages along the upgraded track in the country park.

It will be operated at a competitive cost to park users and offering a multi-ride ticket of £8 for 10 rides or a charge of £1.50p per adult and £1 per child per trip around the track.

Kate Hughes, the council’s area services manager, told the Citizen: ”It is wonderful to know that this much loved and well used facility will continue to operate this summer season.

‘‘The park is a fantastic asset in North East Fife and I would encourage local residents, and visitors to the area, to come along and enjoy free entry to the vast open green space, view the plants - especially its iris collection - visit the adventure play area and have the opportunity to relax in wonderful peaceful surroundings.

“The miniature railway has featured in the park for as long as I can remember, and we appreciate that Peter Bryant has come along and offered his expertise to enable it to continue to operate this year.”

Mr Bryant added: ”We are delighted to be able to run the railway at Craigtoun for it’s 41st year.

‘‘The new locomotive and upgrade work on the station and track will ensure the line is as good as it has ever been, and we can’t wait to start running.”

Its return has been welcomed by local councillors, who have been working towards having the attraction running once more this year.

Councillor Bill Sangster said,”Families come from far and wide to ride on the miniature railway, so we are all delighted that this has been achieved.

‘‘There is much work still to be carried out to get the park back on the map and an advertising campaign must now be put in place so that the whole community can come and enjoy this wonderful green space.”

His sentiments were echoed by fellow Councillor Donald Macgregor, who added: ”This is very good news for the park and we hope it will lead to further improvements to it.”

Councillor Andrew Arbuckle, chair of the North East Fife Area Committee said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to secure this asset for the park this summer.

‘‘Trips on miniature railways are always such a great childhood memory and I am certain it will be a great success with Fife residents and visitors alike.”