The Zoo’s back-up petrol engine now runs on rechargeable batteries. The conversion has been carried out by electric motor specialists Lynch Motors, based at Dunkeswell in East Devon.
And Paignton Zoo train driver Mo Smith is happy that the unit has been painted in the yellow and blue colours of her beloved Torquay United!
Paignton Zoo Environmental Officer Pete Morgan said: “We can use cheap overnight electricity to recharge the batteries. It’s good to move away from petrol – we hope it will be greener and more efficient.”
This is the first commercial miniature train that Lynch have worked on. Trevor Lees, of Lynch Motors, said: “Working with one of the most popular attractions in the South West to turn an old engine into a clean, green modern electric train has proved to be an interesting challenge. We are very pleased to have worked with Paignton Zoo.”
The electric power specialists have nearly 30 years of experience working on everything from cars and bikes to industrial machinery and even the Gloriana Royal Barge used in the Queen’s Jubilee.
It’s hoped the new unit will be cheaper to run, will be greener and more environmentally-friendly and rather more quiet than the diesel engine. The unit, originally petrol driven, dates from the late 1930s. Along with its new power source, it has a new livery of dark blue and yellow.
The ten and a quarter inch gauge tracks run for a third of a mile around the Zoo’s lake. The little trains clock up over 80 miles a week during the summer season and over 2,000 miles in a season. About 120,000 visitors ride the line each year. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 01803 697500.
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