A GENEROUS donation has finally allowed the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group (ARPG) to complete their move from Minnivey Colliery to Dunaskin.

The group had vacated the site near Dalmellington several years ago and had planned to move the remaining rail tracks to their new base but they had not be able to co-ordinate enough volunteers.

The landowner at Minnivey plans to clear the site and landscape it, meaning the still usable track could have been lost forever.

However, thanks to Ayrshire-based McCulloch Rail, the charity has now been able to uplift the track materials they had left behind after the group’s volunteers had worked to clear the overgrown site.

The company – who are a major contractor for Network Rail across the UK – sent five men and two Trac Rail Transporters (TRT) for two days to Minnivey to help the ARPG volunteers move the final few pieces so they can continue to improve the site at Dunaskin.

A spokesperson for the ARPG said: “We were pleased to receive help free of charge from McCulloch Rail.

“Having vacated the former site at Minnivey Colliery near Dalmellington some years ago, the group was recently informed by the landowner that the old colliery site was to be cleared and landscaped.

“The plan since leaving the site has always been to recover track materials left there, however, volunteer time and money were scarce and so this had been left in abeyance.

“The old site had become completely overgrown, with trees and bushes hiding the tracks. Road access to the lineside, which had always been difficult, was now also hampered by piles of dumped soil.

“ARPG volunteers cleared the vegetation and freed off the rails to enable the recovery of three points, required for future developments at Dunaskin. However, moving these large rail components to a road loading point was proving difficult.

“A group member who works for McCulloch Rail approached his manager to ask if they could help with some specialist machines to move the rails. Discussion with the company directors resulted in a positive response and the group were duly given the assistance of five men and two TRTs for two days. These machines, normally used on major track renewal projects on main lines, moved the material to the roadside where they were easily accessed by lorry.

“The group was over the moon to receive such support from McCulloch’s directors, Danny and Billy McCulloch and Colin McNeil, and this in turn was a morale boost to the working ARPG members.

“Help also came from T French and Son of Cronberry, who provided transport to the Scottish Industrial Railway Site at Dunaskin.”