The Watford Miniature Railway has faced damages estimated to be worth “tens of thousands” due to the two-day flooding this weekend.

The popular attraction at Cassiobury Park was submerged in water over the course of the heavy rain that occurred on Saturday (October 3) and Sunday (October 4).

Dave Horton, a former member of staff of the miniature railway business, said that the flooding had damaged the track itself and locomotives, rolling stock and other equipment at the site.

Watford Observer: Watford Observer:

The flood damaged lots of equipment

While Mr Horton estimates it to be roughly "tens of thousands of pounds" worth of damages, the current owner Charles O’Mahoney says that they are waiting to fully evaluate the damages.

Watford Miniature Railway has operated for 61 years and has been a staple attraction for families and visitors.

The weekend was meant to mark the railway’s Autumn Gala and would have featured three visiting locomotives – which were instead damaged in the flooding.

Mr Horton says that paid staff and volunteers were preparing for the event for many weeks.

Watford Observer: Watford Observer:

More of the damages

Now he is pleading that Watford Borough Council can provide help to prevent a future incident.

In the letter, Mr Horton acknowledged that the park was always “prone to a mild amount of flooding”, but never to something to this magnitude.

He wrote: “Immediate steps must be taken in the coming days and weeks to clear and dredge the river where necessary, and to ensure that all weirs, sluices and management procedures etc are functioning correctly - to prevent a re-occurrence.

“With half-term coming up, and the Christmas / New Year season not that far behind, we are fast approaching the period when the railway needs to make its money, especially having suffered such a massive loss of income due to Covid-19 this year.

“Every bit of help and support must be given by the Council, both practically and financially, to support Charles O’Mahoney and his staff/volunteers to clear up the mess and, as I have said, to ensure that this cannot happen again.”

He believes that the flooding was caused by the River Gade bursting its banks and that better management of the river system could prevent a future incident.

The railway, which has already felt the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, reopened on July 28 following an initial delay as lockdown eased.

Mr Horton continued: “The railway is a small business, a local well-loved institution, and to think that ineptitude on behalf of the relevant authorities has caused such damage in a year when it has already taken such a knock from Covid-19, is making a lot of people very angry.”

Watford Borough Council were contacted for their thoughts on the damages.

As the floods devastated the miniature railway equipment, Lower High Street was shut off for the second day in a row and Dalton Way was also shut on Sunday due to heavy rainfall causing flooding in the area.