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I know this is not strictly railway in the accepted sense, but yesterday afternoon fire ravaged the grade 2 listed scenic railway on Margate's Dreamland site. The Scenic railway (rollercoaster) is the third oldest in the world and the oldest in the UK, being built in 1920. The two older ones are in Melbourne and Copenhagen.

The smoke from the blaze was able to be seen up to ten miles away and involved fire crews from all over East Kent.

Thanks must be given to the Kent Fire and Rescue crews for saving as much as they did. It seems that local feeling is that the ride must be repaired and Thanet District Council has already confirmed that this is the aim.

I was invited onto the site last night as one of my relatives is involved directly in the project and invited me to visit I could not take any photos as by that time (20:30ish) it was to dark, but was able to view, as fas as practicable the devastation at first hand.

Those wishing to discover more about Dreamland are invited to visit savedreamland.co.uk.

The news link can be found at here.

Regards
 

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OMG - Its like the one thing that dreamland was always famous for and people know about it from everywhere. Is the damage really really bad. Does anyone think it was arson? Hopefully a lottery grant will pay for it to be repaired..................
 

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According to the short item in the 'Daily Mail' this morning the Roller Coaster was Grade 2 listed and the last surviving sideshow from the original 'Dreamland'. But apparently it was not currently in use and had not run at all this year. No cause had been given for the origin of the fire.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Just had a look at the Kent Fire and Rescue Service website.

They describe the Scenic Railway as 'severely damaged by fire'; that terminology usually means it was not far off being completely destroyed. An adjacent building was also affected.

They had the fire under control by 6.30, using 10 fire engines and two 'aerial appliances' with 60 firefighters. They left the scene at 1am this morning.

The reports go on to say that police and fire service are investigating the cause of the fire this morning.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Shame, many good days spent there and on that particular ride.....
Wouldn't be suprised if the fire was 'suspicious' though......many would love to see that whole site cleared and a nice bland housing estate in it.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
QUOTE (Doug @ 8 Apr 2008, 13:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>BTW, I fixed the links.

Thanks for that Doug - one day I'll get it right!

QUOTE (screwy @ 8 Apr 2008, 14:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Wouldn't be suprised if the fire was 'suspicious' though......many would love to see that whole site cleared and a nice bland housing estate in it.......


And you wouldn't be the first (or last) to make that remark.

Anyway an update as I have now had a chance to stroll down the road and have another look. I would estimate that about 40% of the ride has been destroyed including the joining area. I have also found out that a similar fire occurred in 1949 when the damage was repaired with timber salvaged from Lowestoft pier.

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Latest news tonight is that it is thought to be suspicious, and as Britho says, about 40% damaged. Not quite as bad as I thought from the tone of the Fire Service press release this morning, but bad enough.

Regards,
John
 

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QUOTE (John Webb @ 8 Apr 2008, 22:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Latest news tonight is that it is thought to be suspicious,

Police and fire investigators have now confirmed it was a deliberate fire

QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 8 Apr 2008, 23:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I wonder if its developers after some prime land?

Unfortunately Neil I suspect you are right - there has been controversy about this site for a number of years. Unfortunately I can not voice my opinion in an open forum.

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Been away for a couple of days but a suspect that a certain resident of Kent is a very happy man.

I too spent many, many happy days in Dreamland in my youth - I even drove the miniature bus as a summer job round the coach park (turned it over once & after a liberal soaking of yellow iodine in the First Aid Hut for six kiddies & myself, it was tipped back onto it's wheels & finished the ride - "elf & safety" ?).

There will certainly be a campaign to rebuild the SR & hopefully it will suceed - AFAIK there are/were plans to have a smaller "Heritage Fun Park" on part of the site.

The one question I have is - "Did the actual trains survive ?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 9 Apr 2008, 22:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The one question I have is - "Did the actual trains survive ?"

From what my contact has told me and what I have gleaned off various internet searches it would appear that the answer to this is no. It seems the fire started in the workshop area.

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QUOTE (BRITHO @ 10 Apr 2008, 12:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>From what my contact has told me and what I have gleaned off various internet searches it would appear that the answer to this is no. It seems the fire started in the workshop area.

Regards

Well, sadly, that's probably it then - the structure itself was a relatively simple design. Lets face it, with the trains themselves gone any rebuild will only then be a reproduction - not the same thing at all.

Actually, I was going to make further comment - anyone who knows me will probably guess my thought anyway, so I'll refrain.
 
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