One of the most unique collections of passenger carrying miniature steam and diesel locomotives anywhere in the world has  found a new home in Dorset.  

The collection of eight locomotives  - four steam and four diesel – which have carried almost 7 million passengers between  them over the past 35 years – are now not only set to bring joy to a new generation of passengers of all ages, but will also help to  raise thousands of pounds for good causes across Dorset.  

The collection of classic replica American miniature trains – which were built from the plans of the original locomotives –  have been purchased by the Plowman family who own and run Plowman’s Nursery and Plant Centre in Ferndown.  

With a new track laid down at the garden centre, it is hoped the new collection will become a major visitor attraction since opening for the first time this month.  

New owner Vic Plowman, who had to fight off interest from around the World when the collection came up for sale in Cornwall,  where the trains ran at Dobwalls Adventure Park since being built in the 1970’s, believes their arrival will not only help raise  money for local charities but attract families, tourists and enthusiasts to the county from across the UK and further afield.  

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been able to bring such a world renowned collection of passenger steam and diesel trains to  Dorset and cannot wait to welcome passengers for the very first time this weekend.  

“Since they were first built, hundreds of thousands of people of all ages made the trip to Cornwall, not just from around the UK  but the World to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the collection and ride behind them.

“Now we are going to be able to do the same in Dorset and we really believe that this unique collection will be thoroughly  enjoyed by many more generations to come and bring people to Dorset specifically to ride the trains,” said Mr Plowman.  

One of the first jobs for the collection will be to work alongside the Plowman’s Santa Specials – trains which run through specially  converted Poly-tunnels to create a winter wonderland for kids who can go and see Santa and which, since they were launched 10  years ago, have raised many thousands of pounds for local charities.  

“The Santa Specials start again on November 22nd and we will run the new collection alongside our existing indoor trains which will  be fantastic and more importantly, help us to raise even more money for our nominated good causes this year.  

“The Santa Specials bring families – who often live in different areas of the UK back together with several generations often coming  to ride the trains together, so we cannot wait to see their reactions to the new additions,” added Vic.  

Nominated charities that are set to benefit from this Santa Specials include Julia’s House Hospice for Children, Tender Loving Care,  2CRFM’s Help a Local Child, the Ferndown Mayor’s Charity Appeal and Hope FM.  

The sale of the locomotives attracted interest from around the World, but according to previous owner Malcolm Southern, he is  delighted that the collection is being kept together in the UK where it will remain working.  

“Clearly the collection has been in the family for an incredibly long time and it was extremely important to us that they went to the  right home – which we feel they have,” said Malcolm.  

For more information on the new trains and the times they will be running, contact 01202 582169.  

With thanks to Graham Buckley/Karen Baker of Mercury Public Relations and Peter Nicholson for the press release.

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