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Profile Longleat Railway
The Longleat Miniature Railway must be one of the best kept secrets in the miniature railway world.It’s well known to thousands,or perhaps millions,of visitors to this West Country stately home:the line carries 5,000 passengers a day in the season,and as many as 450,000 a year - no one’s quite sure,because of the Longleat Estate’s complex ‘passport’ ticket system.If that ridership figure is correct,this 2km (1 1 / 4 mile) line is one of the busiest miniature railways in the country - possibly the busiest.But its route, history and locomotives are little known. The story begins in 1966 when Lord Bath first opened his Wiltshire home and Estate to the public.The main attractions were the house itself,and the wildlife safari park,but a number of peripheral attractions opened too,including a miniature railway. Rather than build and operate the line themselves,the Estate leased land to Les Anderson,then running a miniature railway at Severn Beach near Bristol.Anderson built a 15-inch line at Longleat,from a station near the stately home,for about 800 metres ( 1 / 2 mile) along a massive earth dam built by Capability Brown in the 19th Century to create
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