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Today's Breaking News

Scenic Railway rollercoaster restoration starts at Dreamland

By Eddie Goddard

Work has started to restore Britain's oldest surviving rollercoaster at the Dreamland fun park site in Margate.

Built in 1920, the Scenic Railway fell into disrepair when the attraction closed in 2005 and was then badly damaged by an arson attack in 2008.

The refurbishment of the Grade II* listed ride, is part of an £18m project to reopen the amusement park in 2015.

The rollercoaster will be dismantled over 10 months with all the wooden parts replaced.

'Shed a tear'
 
Most of the funding has been granted by the Department for Culture Media and Sport's Sea Change programme, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the council.

"You have to pinch yourself sometimes because there were times when we were thinking this project seemed to be going round and round in circles.

"But finally the community won and it feels like the battle is over but the journey is just beginning."

In 2013, Thanet District Council compulsory purchased the funfair site, which was once home to Europe's largest big wheel, after an order was granted by the government.

Designer Wayne Hemingway, who has been appointed to deliver the new project, said: "The Scenic Railway is the kind of thing that people will shed a tear over when it starts to run again.

Vintage fairground rides from around the UK are being restored and re-created for the new fun park, which will be run by the Dreamland Trust, as well as classic sideshows, vintage cafes, restaurants and gardens.