End of the line for Beer model rail centre’s 2020 season

Former Axminster Mayor and rail enthusiast John Jeffery lent his engineering skills to help restore

Former Axminster Mayor and rail enthusiast John Jeffery lent his engineering skills to help restore the Pecorama loco named after comic Jimmy Cricket. Picture: Peco - Credit: Archant

Beer’s model railway visitor attraction - Pecorama - is to remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season.

A spokesman said they had made the decision after very carefully considering their options.

He said they had investigated the safety implications, made estimates on potential income and considered these alongside the complications added by using parts of the site for manufacturing.

Sadly, they came to the conclusion that it is not sensible to try and open this year.

He said: “We will continue to maintain the Beer Heights Light Railway and the wonderful gardens and keep our social media accounts updated.

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“We also hope to create some videos of the gardens and railway for your interest and inspiration.

“The model shop will remain open, although currently only for mail-order, collections or by appointment.

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“We are now turning our attention to shaping the future of Pecorama for 2021 and beyond and we hope to be able to share some exciting plans later in the year.”

Pecorama membership holders will be contacted soon and be refunded the proportion of their membership that they have been unable to use due to the site closure.

Equally, any customers who have booked driver experience courses will also be contacted shortly to discuss their options.

The spokesman added: “We would like to thank all our loyal customers for their kindness, support and understanding during this difficult time and we hope that you all stay safe and well.”

Considered by many to be the finest 7.25 inch gauge railway in Britain, the Beer Heights Light Railway (BHLR) first opened to the public on the July 14 1975.

Given the location of Pecorama, high on the hillside above the village of Beer, a ride on the railway offers wonderful views over Lyme Bay and along the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the distant Portland Bill.

Amongst the engines regularly on the track at Beer Heights Light Railway alongside the steam locos is ‘Jimmy’, built in 1986 and officially named by renowned comedian Jimmy Cricket. It has travelled many thousands of miles over the years.

After its diesel engine failed an enthusiast donated a replacement and over nine months former Axminster Mayor John Jeffery lent his engineering skills to help restore the loco.

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