The Poole Park Railway runs through Poole Park in Poole, Dorset, England, with views of Poole Park. The line is built to the popular gauge of 10+1⁄4 in (260 mm) and runs every weekend throughout the year and all school holidays.
In 1949 Southern Miniature Railways Ltd started this 10+1⁄4 in (260 mm) gauge railway. They also operated miniature railways in Stokes Bay, Bognor Regis and Southsea. The only one to survive to present times is Poole Park.
A freelance 4-4-2 tender loco “Vanguard” was used every day until 1965 and occasionally until 1970. After 1970 two diesel outline locos were used first powered by Ford Sidevalve engines then diesel.
Steam did briefly return in the 1990s with an engine called Arthur used mainly on Saturdays, which was sold in 1997.The line was taken over by Chris Bullen on 2 June 2005, becoming the third operator since 1949.
Poole Borough Council ended their tenancy agreement with Chris Bullen in 2017, ordering that the historic track be removed before tenders for a new operator would begin on 1 March 2017. The council after a public and media backlash then said that the track may remain in place until after the tendering process.A petition was started to save the historic track from destruction on 38 Degrees website.The Railway was awarded to the Friends of Poole Park (a charity) in July 2017, with a concession to operate the Railway for 30 years.
On 25 April 2018 two of the three railway CIC directors resigned as a result of an unworkable business relationship with the third director. The forty or more volunteers who had operated the railway and maintained the track all 'walked' out in sympathy. Subsequently, the Borough of Poole were unconvinced that the railway CIC could operate the railway safely, following a derailment in May 2018 and the walk out of Friends of Poole Park, the concession was withdrawn and the CIC issued with a 'Notice to Quit' in July 2018.
BCP council received a grant from the Parks Foundation and have added additional funds of its own to ensure the mini railway is open once again, with a target date of autumn 2021.