About the Society
The Society was set up in 1990 by a few local people who each enjoyed operating Miniature Railways and grew to a dozen or so active members. For many years we have operated a portable seven and a quarter gauge track at many local Fetes and Fairs using a small electric loco to start with but this was later superseded by Brian Howorth's new Sprinter 150001, initially as a one coach unit, then two, then three and later four car set. Joe Milburn’s 0-8-0 Caribou Loco also visited. The length of the track grew to anything up to 400 yards. All this was raising money in the hope of eventually finding a site for a permanent railway. Over the years there have been a number of potential sites that would have been suitable for a permanent Miniature Railway.
The first of these was in Townley Park in Burnley. The council wanted an alternative form of transport between the famous Townley Hall and a new car park at the park entrance, a distance of approximately one mile. This proposal was considered by the Society but two conditions were that the trains would have to operate a half hourly service and carry up to seventy passengers. The former requirement could easily have been fulfilled but the latter would have resulted in trains of ten coaches (approximately five tons worth). Even increasing the gauge to ten and a quarter inches would have had problems keeping up with the haulage requirements and so the idea was scrapped.
The second site was in Victoria Park on the Nelson/Barrowford border. This would have involved a circuit of up to half a mile in length around the main bandstand. Access was already provided and the Mayor of Pendle was very interested as were the Pendle Parks Dept. The Planning application was submitted but ultimately refused by the Barrowford Parish Council on who's side of the river the track would be. The Society were then faced with the decision to either re-submit the application under appeal or to look elsewhere for a site. As the surrounding area had slowly succumbed to vandalism, the decision was taken to look elsewhere.
In the end a decision was taken to write to each of the councils from which the society takes its name, Burnley Borough Council and Pendle District Council, explaining our aims and asking for suggestions on potential sites within the boroughs. Within a few weeks Burnley responded with a number of good suggestions. Pendle however failed to respond. Amongst the suggestions from Burnley Council was Thompson Park, the original town park, on land that formerly accommodated an Open Air School and the gardens for the old hospital. The site stands next to the famous Bank Hall Incline which linked the Bank Hall Colliery to the main lines but this is now a well used footpath.
Following many site visits, portable track running and much liaison between ourselves and the Parks Department, a plan was eventually submitted and approved. There then followed an extensive survey to discover the land levels of the proposed area so that advantage could be taken of all level areas before commencing any track building.