The 2019 season at a once-thriving Angus tourist attraction will be its “make or break” year.
The third generation operator behind Kerr’s Miniature Railway in Arbroath, which in its heyday provided entertainment for thousands of holiday-makers, is to consider its future at the end of the summer season.
John Kerr, 23, has found dwindling visitor numbers have put the operation in jeopardy.
Last year he warned the attraction was about to come off the rails after attracting unprecedented low numbers and he is facing a similar dilemma this year with a dwindling footfall.
He said: “What is very clear this year is the numbers are still not very good. We are not having the footfall the railway needs to go on a positive way for the future.
“The people who are coming really appreciate the fact we are there but there are not enough of them.”
Although the attraction enjoyed a “superb” four-day Easter weekend, with just under 500 people from all over Tayside enjoying a visit, these figures were a “rarity.”
“In comparison, over the three days over the Bank Holiday weekend, we had just shy of 100 people which makes it very difficult for us planning for the future.
“We just hope and pray the weather is nice all the time as these numbers are just not good enough.
“We are going to have another bash at it, we have not completely given up.”
Mr Kerr, whose grand-father Matthew opened the railway in 1935, has shelved plans to extend the current track along to the new play-park on the West Way.
Although his facility is signposted, he claims visitors to the park do not make the short distance along to the railway.
The attraction will open on weekends until July and on select days through the summer months.
He will decide in September what direction the railway will take in the future.
His fears emerged as he was presented with a cheque for £500 by scot-rail.co.uk which is an online forum for rail enthusiasts.
Group member Derek Hoskins said: “Kerr’s railway was proposed as a possible recipient.
“Kerr’s is very much part of my childhood memories so I was keen to see it get some assistance as I know the struggles John and his team have had over recent years.
“An institution such as this was a huge boon to the local economy over the years, but modern society has very differing interests to the past and we recognise that within the group.
“It would be terrible if Kerr’s were to reach a point whereby they felt it unviable to continue, and as such we as enthusiasts would like to do our bit to help it along and hopefully raise the profile again.”