The site was originally purchased by Rev. Richard Paten, initially to build the Museum of World Railways to compliment the National Railway Museum. Lack of funding completely changed direction for the Trustees.
Railworld Wildlife Haven has quite a collection of local and national railway pictures. Plus many of the early days of the Hovertrain Project
Rev Richard Paten - Our Founder had a passion for local history, his father founded the Peterborough Civic Society
We remember some of our project pioneers that are sadly not with us anymore .. They laid the foundations so that the project would flourish
Watch the video to find out about our amazing project.
How it all started
The north site ‘Railworld Wildlife Haven’ land was the formally the derelict Peterborough Power Station Coal storage yard – The Power Station was situated on the present Asda site in Rivergate – The coal was fed by a complicated conveyor system from the coal yard, under the cross-country line to March and then over the ECML to the power station! The whole area was purchased by our founder – Rev Richard Paten with his own money … Initially the idea was to create a ‘Museum of World Railways’ (MWR) – To complement the ‘National Railway Museum’ (NRM) .. In fact for many years Dr John Coiley, the first curator of the NRM, was a MWR Trustee! But after an exciting start fundraising for the volunteer project turned out
to be a problem and MWR just never got off the ground!
By 1992 – Richard and his fellow trustees saw this and in the same year as the Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit - MWR was changed to ‘Railworld Sustainable Transport Centre’ – To promote the ever-present environmental benefits of travel by rail! This also never brought the necessary funding …
So – never giving up we carried on with the volunteers that we had – We decided to build a wildlife haven on the north site and in case you have ever wondered why the wildlife haven western side is curved – they were a plan – called the ‘Crescent Link’ to join the NVR up by a new River Nene Rail Bridge to the ECML and have a station alongside the main Peterborough Station!
‘Railworld’ was given 3 sections of the former GNR Victorian Aqueducts by British Rail, once they had been removed from Abbots Ripton to facilitate the ECML Electrification. Volunteers entered a competition and won the UK Environmental Teamwork Award with ICI/Dulux and this resulted in a £3,000 - Shot blast and paint of the GNR Aqueducts…. The aqueducts took well over 6 years to raise money to create a concrete supports, designed for us by Posford Duvivier – many companies donated money towards the seven tons of concrete for each support and Peterborough Crane Hire positions the aqueducts free for us .. So many fabulous companies of helped out including Perkins Engines and Caterpillar…
In reality, the landscaped ‘Railworld Wildlife Haven’ has been created by volunteers, winning grants and awards – Plus the amazing help of so many companies, groups and individuals … over a 35-year period. - we have also built the Globe Hall Earth Centre, that took over 19 years! – But volunteers never ever gave up … Look what we have now, a wildlife haven, with ponds, waterfalls and most importantly wildlife habitat.