29th October 2013, Tuesday
Clonakilty Town Cllr Cionnaith O Suilleabhain reports that the West Cork Model Railway Village in Clonakilty will close from this Monday 4th November until the 16th February 2014. It’s to allow for a major upgrade and restoration programme. The popular tourist facility will mark its 20th anniversary next summer.
Since it’s official opening on 9th July 1994 by President Mary Robinson, tens of thousands of visitors have enjoyed the facility, and over the years, new attractions have been added to enhance it as a popular destination for people of all ages.
From the original four West Cork towns of Bandon, Dunmanway, Kinsale and Clonakilty built to a scale of 1:24 in 1940’s style with the six G Size model trains running between them, and a café and souvenir shop located in two full sized disused carriages, the West Cork Model Railway Village has developed:-
- The popular Choo Choo Roadtrain, (on the 10th anniversary in 2004)
- An indoor playroom in 2005
- An outdoor play area and the Choo Choo platform in 2009
- The Interpretative Centre in 2012.
Now over the winter months, models that have suffered during the recent severe winters (and summers!), will be carefully and tastefully reconstructed and re-decorated for the 2014 season and the 20th anniversary celebrations.
The ten or so staff will be concentrating on this work over the coming three and a half months, which will also see the Choo Choo off the road.
However, the facility will be open on limited days in the lead up to Christmas, and the Choo Choo can be made available for special occasions by enquiring from the Model Village itself on 023-8833224.
Former County Architect Billy Houlihan who was centrally involved in the planning and construction of the Village 20 years ago will act as Project Director. Norman Waugh of Bandon – a former model maker at the Model Village for many years and who worked under model maker and designer, the late Roy Tassell, is appointed as foreman of the project. Norman has vast experience, having been involved in the construction of the impressive Clonakilty Church model (among many others), along with Finbarr O’ Sullivan (who still works at the Model Village) under Roy’s guidance. The Architects Dept of Cork C.I.T. have also been asked to assist with the project.
As well as it’s ten permanent employees, the Model Village also takes on a compliment of around 10 students each summer, and has a policy of supporting local contractors and suppliers.