Volunteer Jordan honoured as Haigh railway vision gains momentum

A train enthusiast from Crewe has received a Heart of the Community Award for his dedication to restoring a once popular Wigan visitor attraction. Jordan Leeds, 34, regularly travels up north to lead volunteer efforts to bring back Haigh Woodland Park’s beloved miniature railway, which was closed in 2020 due to Covid.

Wigan Council is currently looking into plans to reopen the line as part of the park’s exciting future, alongside the transformation of Haigh Hall into a national arts and heritage destination. Jordan and his team of volunteers, including members of the Haigh Woodland Railway Supporters’ Association that he founded, are already working on repairing the track and rolling stock.

Councillor Chris Ready of Wigan Council said, “Exciting things are happening at Haigh Woodland Park with our restoration of Haigh Hall well underway! Many locals have fond memories of the miniature railway and we believe it has great potential to be part of Haigh’s bright future. Thank you to Jordan and his fellow volunteers for their dedication.”

Jordan, who works as a senior boilersmith for a company that maintains famous steam locomotives, discovered his love for trains at a young age. His passion for restoring Haigh’s 15-inch gauge railway is shared by volunteers, visitors, and the local community, making it an exciting time for all involved.

The Haigh Hall project team is looking at options to ensure that the revived railway is financially sustainable for the future visitor destination. In addition to the £31.5m transformation of Haigh Hall, supported by £20m in Levelling Up funding, ongoing projects at Haigh Woodland Park include an Amphitheatre for a Tree sculpture garden funded by Arts Council England and the restoration of the Plantation Gates with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

For those interested in volunteering at Haigh Woodland Park, email [email protected] or call 01942 828280.

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