A LIGHT railway around the Heath, which would create a fun new attraction in the summer for residents and visitors to the popular town site, is being proposed by a Petersfield man.
Wayne Tallon was inspired to propose the idea by the success of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway in Kent and similar leisure tracks at Stansted Park, Hollycombe and Marwell zoo.
He would like to see a 15-inch gauge line around the north side of the pond, starting from the car park off Heath Road, skirting the ancient barrows and ending near the children’s playground.
“I want to do this for the town, not for myself,” said Wayne. “I want it to be a community project, built by and for the people of Petersfield.
“It would be non-profitmaking, with any surplus going back into town projects.”
Another aspect he sees as important would be to interest young people in practical engineering projects by learning about the trains and how to maintain them.
Wayne says there are many steam railway enthusiasts throughout the area who he believes would be ready and willing to back the scheme from a practical point of view.
As far as finance is concerned, he says the example of the Watercress Line could be followed with public shares being offered. Other commercial opportunities for marketing could also be pursued.
On potential concerns about safety or environmental considerations, he suggests his route would not cause any damage to the Heath or sites of special interest.
The track would be laid on ballast so that there would be no digging involved.
“When I was involved with the Watercress Line, from day one there were a lot of objections from councillors and residents.
“We fought through, and look what the Watercress Line has done for the community now, so we need to see the bigger picture beyond the end of your nose.
“This is a project which could bring great value to many people.”
Due to his health, Wayne cannot take the project further at this stage but is keen to hear from anyone else who shares his enthusiasm.
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Weather for Petersfield
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North