VOLUNTEERS from the Stroud Society of Model Engineers are facing a race against time to get Stratford Park’s model railway up and running for the Easter break.

The railway was damaged in storms in February after a giant tree came down and destroyed much of the track.

The turntable and the steaming bays were badly damaged and the falling tree also left a huge gap in the fencing, with large amount of wood scattered all over the site.

It was feared that the track may not be up and running for its normal public opening in Easter, but a sterling effort from volunteers has offered a glimmer of hope that families may still be able enjoy the popular attraction at the end of next month.

Society secretary, Bill Phillips, told the Stroud News & Journal: “Our group of volunteers has been busy on Wednesday mornings clearing away the moveable bits of the tree.

“The Park groundsmen have provided a considerable amount of assistance with sawing up the smaller trunks. From what looked like a massive heap of broken wood has now emerged the wreckage of our steaming bays and sidings.

“Unfortunately the bulk of the tree is still in place and until that is removed we cannot start to repair the track work.

“We have had no word from the District Council as to when they can get a contractor in to move the trunk but we will do what we can before then to have the materials ready to effect the repairs as soon as possible.

“The main circuit of track has only been slightly damaged and that will be repaired soon. So we may be able to run on April 27, although it will probably be a limited service.

“Lets just hope the weather stays fine for a spell as it makes working in the park so much easier,” added Mr Phillips.

The model railway at Stratford Park has been a popular feature with families for many years, with society members offering children rides astride carriages behind the miniature steam engine.