A MUCH-loved community staple is back up and thriving after two years away with COVID-19.
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Big numbers flocked to the Bathurst Miniature Railway on Durham Street on Sunday, with children and parents enjoying a ride on a miniature train.
It's the fourth month back for the railway, having returned in September this year after pausing activities since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Club president Steve Stuart said it's great to be back up and running.
"It's absolutely fantastic to be back," he said.
"Our last running day back in November was one of our biggest running days we've ever had. I think that was our third largest running day since the club started 45 years ago.
"We had a large turn up but we did have some members away which unfortunately meant there was a bit of a wait but everyone was happy.
"Kids really enjoyed their ride and we love putting it back on."
While the railway didn't operate for over two years, Mr Stuart said the club received overwhelming support throughout the pandemic.
"We were certainly hoping that whole time that we would be back," he said.
"The best part, we had so many people trying to contact us on Facebook, our website, giving us a call or sending us an email. That was so good to see because we had so much support.
"It was good seeing so many people wanting us back, we just wished the restrictions would lift.
"At least we kept everything running down here and council has always been really good with us, keeping the grounds tidy."
The club hasn't advertised its running days too much, as a drop-off in members in recent years means the club is restricted in how many trains it can run at one time.
Mr Stuart said the club currently has around 16 members, with some travelling as far as the Blue Mountains and he's hoping to slowly grow numbers back up.
"It's a really good track we have here in Bathurst and sometimes the smaller clubs are just nicer, because you get to meet more people," he said.
The Bathurst Miniature Railway was established in 1977 and today operates and maintains nearly 600 metres of track at the John Matthews Sporting Complex
Over the years, club members have added buildings, features and a lot more track.
The railway is in operation on the third Sunday of the month, from 10.30am-2pm, weather permitting.
For more information on the club, visit its website.
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