Express & Star

Miniature railway in 'David vs Goliath' fight to keep Rugeley Power Station site

Operators of a beloved miniature railway have launched a campaign to save the attraction from being relocated in a "David versus Goliath" fight.

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Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling (right) meets members of Rugeley Power Station Society of Model Engineers and supporters

Steam train rides for families have run in the grounds of Rugeley's former power station for 35 years, but the Rugeley Miniature Railway tracks are under threat of being moved to a different part of the site to make way for new homes.

However, developer Engie said it was working closely with the railway operator Rugeley Power Station Society of Model Engineers to secure the future of the attraction, which is not open to the general public. It also said representatives were due to hold talks with the society this week.

John Dutton shows off a miniature train at the track

Railway trustee Terry Dell said: "It's a David versus Goliath situation. We are trying to save a much-loved local attraction. Unfortunately in trying to do that we are up against the very large multi-national French company Engie, who want to build houses on the best part of the site, which we occupy.

"They have offered to relocate us to a different part of the site and to carry out some of the ancillary work towards that, but we don't want them to rip it up. This would seriously disadvantage us and we are negotiating.

The section of the track with trees

"Unfortunately the plans are impractical and unsafe as far as we're concerned.

"Frustratingly, when the MPs for the area got involved they were told by Engie that it was talking to us, and engaging with the community, but there has been very little evidence of that. There has been no engagement with anyone."

Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling at the railway

He added that under the redevelopment scheme half of the 1,950ft track would be cut away. The trust's Save Rugeley Miniature Railway has so far attracted almost 900 supporters.

In response Engie said: "As we are moving forward with this project, we remain committed to maintaining our engagement with the local community and our key stakeholders. This includes continuing to work closely with the Rugeley Power Station Society of Model Engineers to secure the future of the model railway.

John Ward helping out at Rugeley Miniature Railway

"Following consultations with the society, we have looked at how we can limit our impact on the miniature railway and its layout, whilst completing redevelopment of the site. We have recently met with the society on site to consult on our latest proposal and agreed to explore viability of an alternative layout and to continue our dialogue.

"We have also offered the society a one-year extension to its current licence to ensure that the railway can continue to operate. We will be meeting again with them in the coming days to discuss potential next steps as part of our ongoing dialogue."

Barry Wilkinson is part of the team at the site run by Rugeley Power Station Society of Model Engineers

The 1,950ft track, which is open to members of the power station's social club or guests from other railway societies, runs through trees, a tunnel, two stations and a pond that is home to birds.

View over the site of the former Rugeley Power Station in 2022

The four landmark towers at the former Rugeley Power Station were blown up in a controlled operation in June 2021 to make way for 2,300 homes, a new free school, business units, a community centre and a country park along the nearby River Trent.

See the petition at