ALL aboard! It’s full steam ahead for a quaint attraction which has been delighting Rugbeians for over 70 years.
The Rainsbrook Valley Railway is back on track for its first full season open to the public, following almost three years of restricted running during the pandemic.
Run by the not-for-profit Rugby Model Engineering Society, the Onley Lane site is one of the longest ground level and raised miniature railway tracks in the midlands.
The railway, in one form or another, has been attracting passengers around the town since around 1949, popping up in locations including Wood Street, Whitehall Recreation Ground, Abbey Street and Hillmorton Community Centre before moving to the current site in 1982.
Society volunteer Phil said steam trains had continued to gain popularity during that time, with one generation after another ‘fascinated’ by them.
He said: “It seems all ages and all backgrounds can’t resist being involved with them, whether they are being reminded of days past or creating new memories for those who haven’t seen them before.”
The society has been busy catching up on track and landscape maintenance that had to be put off during Covid restrictions.
And a new clubhouse – built almost entirely by the club’s members and financed through ticket sales and donations – is nearing completion, which will house a cafeteria, ticket office and new toilets once finished.
Volunteer Phil said: “It’s great now we can push on with all the projects that Covid made us put on hold.
“We have members with backgrounds as varied as a brain surgeon, Easyjet pilot and a Rolls Royce engineer. All are volunteers, with ages varying from as young as 12 to an awful lot older!
“Some of us do it because we love to create the track and locos we run, and some because they enjoy the events – public days, birthday parties, even a day for those with special needs. Some because it gets us up and out of the house, keeping us fit and healthy, others because we like to meet up with people with a common interest.”
The Rainsbrook Valley Railway’s next public running day is on Sunday (April 16), and it will be open on the third Sunday of every month until October.
Tickets must be booked in advance. Visit www.rugbymes.co.uk for more information and to book.