BURGHCLERE Sports Club is “full steam ahead” for a brand-new miniature railway, offering rides to the public around the sports ground.
The idea for the steam railway was born in response to the sports club’s need to generate more income and attract new, younger members.
Chairman of Burghclere Sports Club Andy Timbrell said: “There are a number of steam enthusiasts that live in and around Burghclere and we thought this idea would capture their imagination and bring an idea to reality.
“We also thought it would be a great idea to inspire an interest in steam for the younger generation in and around Burghclere.
“We hope to involve schools and organisations in the construction and running of the railway, so they can learn the principles of laying the track to operating a steam engine and railway.”
Mr Timbrell added: “The sports club is in desperate need of renovation.
“Without a new revenue stream the building will fall into further disrepair.
“The steam railway will be a new source of interest in the club and its facilities – attracting new members and the general public.
“The good news is that the parish council gave us the green light to start constructing the miniature steam railway at their meeting on Monday, October 2, therefore, if you will excuse the pun, it is ‘full steam ahead’ for us now.”
The railway hopes to be up and running by Easter 2018 or at the very latest by the family fun day planned for the May bank holiday.
The railway will provide rides on steam and diesel trains for the general public once a month, as well as themed rides during Christmas, Hallowe’en and Easter. It will also be open for corporate, family, children’s and party events as an essential revenue stream for the sports club.
The project will be self-funded and money will be raised through grant applications and donations.
Burghclere Sports Club hopes the railway will be profit-generating through charging for the rides and will increase public engagement.
Mr Timbrell said: “The intention is for the railway to be ‘not for profit’ and any surplus funds would be reinvested in the railway development and/or for much-needed repairs or renovations of the sports club building.”
A working group will run on an Wednesday evening at the clubhouse to build the track.
To find out more or to volunteer go to the Facebook page @BMRSociety