£70k means Markeaton Park model railway can open next year
ENTHUSIASTS behind plans for a permanent model railway at Markeaton Park say it will be able to open next year – after receiving almost £70,000 towards the project.
The Famous Trains charity will use a disused storeroom at the park for its exact scale replica of Chinley station, Derbyshire, in the 1950s and 60s – at 1/76th of the size of the original.
For about six years, members have been trying to raise awareness and funds for the project and, along with day-to-day running costs for the charity, the project itself will cost about £130,000.
It had put in several bids for cash and, last night, the Big Lottery Fund confirmed it was awarding £68,334 to Famous Trains.
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The money is part of £1.5 billion the Big Lottery Fund plans to invest in good causes between now and 2015.
It was chosen because the project aims to work with and involve 50 unemployed young volunteers, 35 schools and 2,000 disabled people.
Colin Boocock, Famous Trains chairman, said: "We're thrilled. This will enable us to begin to make real improvements to the life chances of young and older disadvantaged people and many others who will volunteer with us.
"Our model railway will now be able to open to the public next year. Our volunteers will have the chance now to learn new skills, which will improve their employment prospects."