The Burnley and Pendle Miniature Railway Society (BPMRS) was established in 1990, by a few locals who all shared a common interest; miniature railways. The society soon grew to have a dozen or so active members.
For many years, the society operated a portable seven and a quarter inch gauge track at many local fetes and fairs, using a small electric locomotive. All the money raised was kept within the society, in the hope of eventually finding a site for a permanent railway.
Over the years, multiple sites were visited, with the prospects of forming a permanent railway in one of the many parks in Burnley, and the surrounding area. The first of which was Townley Park; where the local council wished for an alternative form of transport between the famous Townley Hall and the then new car park at the main entrance, a distance of approximately one mile. The society considered the proposal; however, two conditions were that the society would have had to have operated a half hourly service between the two points and be able to carry up to seventy passengers per train. The former requirement could have easily been met, however the latter would have resulted in trains consisting of at least ten coaches, a weight of approximately five tonnes, which for the gauge, would have been impractical.
The second site visited was Victoria Park, on the Nelson – Barrowford border. In the first instance. The sight was perfect, as access to the site was already provided, and the Mayor of Pendle was very keen, as was the Pendle District Parks Department. However, when planning permission was submitted, it was subsequently refused by the Barrowford Parish Council (as this is whose side of the river the track was intended to be laid). The Society was faced with the decision of either re-submitting planning permission under appeal, or to look for a site elsewhere. As the surrounding area had slowly succumbed to vandalism, the decision was made to look elsewhere.
A decision was the taken for the society to write to the councils from which the society took its name, Burnley Borough Council, and the Pendle District Council; explaining our aims, as well as asking for suggestions on potential sites within the boroughs. The Burnley Borough Council responded with several weeks, with several good suggestions, Pendle District Council, however, failed to respond.
Amongst the suggestions from the Burnley Borough Council was Thompson Park, the town’s original park, which originally accommodated an open-air school, as well as the gardens for the former Burnley Maternity Hospital. The site stands next to the once famous Bank Hall Incline – linking the Bank Hall Colliery to the local mainlines.
Following many site visits, portable track running, and much liaison between the society and the Burnley Borough Council; a plan was finally submitted and approved.
Since then the railway has under gone many major upgrades to improve the experience of our passengers. Why not visit us to find out more about the railway and hear about the exciting plans that we have for the future!