COBDEN may have lost its conventional railway in 1986 but the town’s locomotive love affair was rekindled eight years later — albeit in miniature form.
Hundreds of townspeople, youngsters and train enthusiasts took part in celebrations marking two decades since Cobden Miniature Railway fired up for weekend and school holiday fun.
The railway’s founders, Alan Hart and John Wiggins, were on hand to take part in the festivities and spoke about their work to set up the popular family attraction in the early 1990s.
Cobden Rotary Club treasurer Frank Martin said the miniature railway concept was dreamt up as a way of utilising and beautifying the town’s disused racecourse.
He said Mr Wiggins and Mr Hart worked hard prior to the site’s establishment to persuade local government and business owners that the concept was feasible.
“A lot of people at the time thought it might last a few months, maybe a few years but they didn’t expect it to become a Cobden institution,” Mr Martin said.
“The council at the time, to their credit, gave it their backing but it was only on a short lease.
“John and others have given up hours and hours of their time to keep it running.”
As part of the festivities, the price per ride was lowered to the 1994 price of $1. Even today, the ticket to ride is still a relatively inexpensive $2.50.
Mr Martin said the popularity of the miniature railway cut across the generational divide, with many grandparents taking their enthusiastic grandchildren for a ride on the small-scale locomotive.
“We’ve had ladies and gentlemen in their 80s just as keen as the young ones to take part,” Mr Martin said.