The weekend of 27th & 27th April saw a celebratory event held to mark the 60th anniversary of the Watford Miniature Railway.
Located in Watford’s award-winning Cassiobury Park, the railway has become part and parcel of the town’s culture since it opened in 1959 and is now one of the oldest operating park railways in the UK.
Despite some variable weather trains ran all weekend, with the railway’s normal locomotives being joined by ‘Meteor V’, a petrol locomotive which ran on the railway until the early 1990s. Also on display was a new resident steam locomotive ‘Pilgrim’, which will be entering service soon after some minor repair work is completed.
The Park’s Hub building hosted an exhibition of the railway’s development and history over the past 60 years, including over 200 photos never seen in public before. There were also model railways on display, free children’s entertainment and live music. On the Saturday there was a birthday cake cutting ceremony attended by Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor, railway staff past and present, and a number of park visitors – and, of course, there was a free piece of cake for all visitors!
A commemorative book has also been produced detailing the history of the railway, which can be purchased here or in person at the railway.
Plans are now being developed by the railway’s current operators to help improve the facilities and secure the railway’s future for many more generations to come.
Railway owner Charles O’Mahoney commented “For generations the railway has been part of a visit to the park for local residents. We regularly have visitors who rode as a child returning now with their children or grandchildren, and in fact three generations of my family have ridden on the train here as children. I don’t think there is a park railway anywhere else that has that strength of social history. Not many miniature railways survive beyond 20 years so it is remarkable we have reached our 60th birthday.
We have very basic facilities – we don’t even have mains power or water – and we really want to improve these and the experience for our visitors. By improving what we have I hope the railway can ultimately reach its centenary in 2059!”