A wheelchair accessible carriage for the Bath and West Miniature Steam Railway was officially launched at this year’s Royal Bath and West Show, by Countess Bathurst, President of the Royal Bath and West Society.
Made possible by a donation from The Thatchers Foundation, the new carriage has a drop-down side which allows wheelchair and less abled users to access the carriage.
Philip Smith, Trustee of the Thatchers Foundation, was joined the Countess Bathurst, Brian Wilson of the East Somerset Society of Model and Experimental Engineers, and Mrs Joan Ashdown, to officially declare the new carriage in use!
Based at the Royal Bath and West showground in Shepton Mallet, the East Somerset Society of Model and Experimental Engineers has 100 members who meet twice a week. As well as for their own use, the members operate the Bath and West Miniature Steam Railway during public events held at the showground throughout the year.
The new carriage will attach onto all four of the locomotives that the club operates on the 7 ¼ “ gauge track.
Brian Wilson says, “This is a fantastic carriage that will allow us to offer rides to more visitors. When not required for disabled access, the carriage holds a removable bench seat in the same style as the other carriages.
“We’re really appreciative of the donation from the Thatchers Foundation that has enabled us to purchase this accessible carriage.”
Philip Smith, Trustee of the Thatchers Foundation, adds, “The club members have a real passion for the miniature railway, which brings a lot of joy to many people. We’re delighted that our donation is helping open up the railway to people who otherwise have not been able to enjoy the experience.”
The Bath and West Miniature Railway runs along a half a mile picturesque route at the Showground, over and along Prestleigh Brook and then around a lake that includes a bridge over the water cascade.
The railway has been built by the local members of the East Somerset Model and Experimental Engineers.