Haigh Country Park, School Lane, Haigh, Wigan, WN2 1PE

Information Pack

1 Potential Concession Opportunity – 15 Gauge Railway

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) on behalf of Wigan Council are seeking expressions of interest from commercial, voluntary or community enterprise organisations for the repair, operation and maintenance of the 15 gauge railway at Haigh Country Park (the Park).

WLCT do not want to be prescriptive on how this service is to be delivered, or what benefits it may incur.  Any proposals that can align to the site rules and support both our vision for the Park and WLCT’s over arching vision are welcome.  To this end, organisations can submit more that one proposal or can offer alternative proposals.

Submitted proposals will be evaluated and any resultant contract will be let in line with the process set out in the Proposal Instructions / Information set out below.   

2 Introduction to Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust

WLCT was formed in 2003 and is a charitable trust, which works on behalf of local authority and other public sector aligned clients to develop and manage cultural and leisure facilities and services. As a registered charity and social enterprise, WLCT is committed to invest any surplus generated through its operations back into improving local leisure and cultural provision.

WLCT’s principle client is Wigan Council for whom it provides services for over 300,000 residents across the Wigan Borough.

The Vision of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust is; Encouraging everyone to be active, creative and healthy”

3 Introduction to Haigh Country Park

WLCT is responsible for the operation of a number of leisure sites and parks in the Wigan Metropolitan Borough area. One of these is Haigh Hall and Country Park.

Ideally located at the heart of the North West motorway network, Haigh Country Park provides an ideal country location for leisure, pleasure and corporate pursuits, yet it is within easy reach of Wigan Town Centre and other major conurbations. Within a 20 minute drive time there are approx. 470,000 potential visitors.

The Hall itself is a popular venue for weddings & civil partnerships (79 P/A); school leavers’ proms, christenings and birthdays, along with mid-week corporate bookings (113 P/A).

Once the home of Earls and Lords; Haigh Hall is surrounded by 250 acres of park and woodland, with magnificent views across the Douglas Valley to the Welsh Hills. Haigh Country Park is an enjoyable day out with something for everyone. In addition to the 15 gauge railway, the Park offers a café, craft gallery, nature trails, play areas Inc. a mini funfair, woodlands, adventure activities, an 18-hole golf course, walled gardens, and conservation activities. Whilst there are 2 large pay-and-display car parks with parking for approx. 500 cars, there is no entrance fee to get into the park. It is very popular during school holidays and summer with families, and is visited all year round by school groups and dog walkers.

During the 12 month period ended March 2012, a total of 30,386 rounds of golf were played at Haigh Golf Course.

4 Vision for Haigh Country Park – including the 15 inch Gauge Railway

The Haigh Hall Railway first opened in July 1986 and runs in the grounds of Haigh Hall Country Park for 1 mile. The circuit passes through Woodland on most of its journey. There is a potential for two stations ‘Haigh Hall South’ which is the main station which has a passing loop and a three road engine shed and ‘Haigh Hall North’ which is at the entrance to the walled . “Katie” the 2-4-2 Guest built formerly of Dudley Zoo and Fairbourne fame, ran here for a few years when the railway first opened. The railway now operates using an ‘Alan Keef’ steam outline locomotive ‘Helen’ and ‘Alan Keef’ coaches. The coaches can hold up to 60 passengers at one time. There is also the ex-Fairbourne Railway diesel ‘Rachel’ which is used as standby locomotive.

The 15 inch railway has always been popular with visitors and this facility has been missed whilst it has not been in operation. Generations of families from Wigan and beyond have brought their children to Haigh specifically to have a ride on the train.

During the period from March 2011 to September 2011 there were approximately 11,723 passengers on the train.  A plan showing the layout of the railway is detailed at Appendix A.

The Café has recently undergone a refurbishment offering a wide variety of meals and snacks which has seen an increase in visitors over the last twelve months.

There are a number of other attractions that are currently under development at Haigh Country Park. The Crazy Golf is now being refurbished and will be open in summer 2013. The aim is to provide a variety of facilities and attractions to encourage further visitors to the park.

5 The Requirement

Site Rules / Technical Information

5.1 Repair, Operation and Maintenance of 15” Gauge Railway

The Operator is required to repair the tracks, engine shed, level crossings, associated signage and turnout of the Railway station; maintain the tracks, engine shed, level crossings, associated signage, trains including carriages and the station turnout: and operate the running of the railway timetabled service during the times stipulated.  All repairs to, operation of and maintenance of the 15 Gauge Railway must be funded at the Operator’s expense. WLCT are aware that the railway does need significant repairs to bring them up to operating standards.

The requirement includes the provision of risk assessments in relation to all aspects of the operation.

5.2 Minimum Level of Service

The railway should operate during the opening times stipulated. There will be requirement for the provider to operate at additional times to accommodate group bookings that may be taken by WLCT. These will be pre-booked on behalf of the service user by WLCT. The provider will accommodate all reasonable requests.

Staffing levels and equipment provision should ensure that customers are not subject to excessive waiting periods during peak trading periods.

The Operator will also be responsible for keeping the area within a 5 metres radius of the station(s) in a clean and tidy condition throughout the day. There are 2 litter receptacles in situ. The Operator is responsible for removing and disposing of all unwanted materials at the end of each trading day.

5.3 On-going Standards

The Operator will be expected to produce a maintenance schedule, a risk assessment plan and daily pre-start inspection schedule.

Such parts of the above plan that require daily or weekly monitoring must be recorded with the records retained on site for inspection.

All operatives must sign in / out at the Contact Centre within Haigh Stables on every occasion of attendance on site.

5.4 Staffing

The railway must be manned by a minimum of two experienced operators at all times, although more operators may be required in busy periods. These persons must be suitably attired in a clean uniform, company name badges, be experienced in providing a high standard of customer service and be fully trained and experienced in the operation of the railway train(s).

Staff must also be cleared against the Criminal Record Bureau records to ensure that there is no valid reason why they should not be working with children. Proof must be obtained and provided to WLCT prior to attendance on site.

5.5 Training

Each new operator must undertake a training schedule, approved by WLCT, before any operation the equipment, which must include Emergency First Aid.

5.6 Protective Clothing/Uniform

All staff will be expected to wear clean and appropriate protective clothing and / or a uniform including a company name badge.

5.7 Goods and Equipment

All equipment will be provided by WLCT and must not be removed from site unless for repair at the authorised manufacturer.

The equipment currently consists of 2 diesel engine trains, carriages for each train which hold up to 60 passengers per train, 1560m of track, turnout and a concrete stock storage shed. As previously stated WLCT are aware that these do need significant repairs to bring them up to operating standards.

The train names cannot be changed under any circumstance.

All equipment, at all times, remains the property of Wigan Council.

No deliveries should be made to the site, unless they are fuel for trains, major parts or items to repair said trains, tracks or carriages.

If required the Operator must only use the designated water supply. No water can be drawn from other supplies on site.

The Operator is responsible for the security of all trains and carriages, at the end of each working day.

The Operator is responsible for the supply and safe operation / storage of the fuel used by the railway. The Operator is further responsible to ensure that members of the public are adequately protected from injury by these sources of energy.  

Trains must only be re-fuelled within the confines of the Engine shed.

5.8 Waste Disposal

All waste materials generated by the railway operation are to be removed from the site at the end of each day’s trading. The Operator should have a plan to re-cycle those items that can reasonably be re-cycled.

5.9 Trading Hours

The railway must operate to a timetabled service from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, every weekend, from October to March (excluding Christmas Day).

During the months of April to September, the timetabled railway service must operate from 11:00 am to 16:00 pm, every weekend.

The timetabled railway service should also be operational during every period of local school holidays in line with the operational hours detailed above.

The railway must be available to accommodate any private bookings organised by WLCT, even if outside the core hours as described above.

Please note that the above are minimum trading times. The Operator is encouraged to provide the service outside these hours within the period 7:00am to 10:00pm.

As an outdoor attraction, visitor numbers at Haigh Country Park are dependent to some extent upon the weather. There may be times when the park is inaccessible, or weather conditions are not suitable for the safe operation of the railway service, and the supervising officer will advise the Operator that the services are not required.

5.10 Performance Monitoring

The Operator will be expected to:

Provide risk assessments for safe operation of the railway service in various weather conditions.

Supply and complete a daily safety check list for inspection of all equipment before start up of operation.

Provide a training schedule, to be agreed with WLCT, for any new operators of the train.

Ensure that all staff are adequately trained as detailed in Paragraph 3.5 and that the Daily Safety Check is completed and applied.

Is aware of WLCT communication system and reports all complaints, customer queries and other information as required.

Remove all waste materials from site daily.

Pay the agreed fee at the times agreed.

An accident book must be retained on site and used appropriately.

5.11 Miscellaneous Items

Please note the following:

The Operator is not to arrange for mail to be delivered to Haigh Country Park and must actively advise any suppliers using Haigh Country Park as a delivery point to desist.

6 Proposal Instructions and Information.

6.1 About these instructions.

6.1.1 These instructions are designed to ensure that all interested parties are given equal and fair consideration.  It is important therefore that you provide all the information requested in the format and order specified.

6.1.2 Should you have any queries or require any clarifications regarding this enquiry they should be addressed as follows:

All queries should be directed to Beverley Smith, Service Manager - Procurement by e-mail to b.smith@wlct.org or at the address detailed below

you should not contact any other person regarding this matter unless expressly advised by the officers named above

if appropriate, all queries and their responses, but not the details of the person or organisation initiating the query will be sent to each person to whom this Invitation was sent

telephone queries will not be accepted

6.1.3 Any reference in this or any other document issued during the course of the exercise to the “Trust” or “WLCT” means Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust”.

6.2 Timetable and administration details

Proposals should be returned in one envelope to:

Service Manager - Procurement

Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust,

WLCT Offices

Haigh Stables Complex

School Lane

Haigh Country Park



Closing date for receipt of proposals is: 2pm Friday 8th February 2013

The Envelope must be clearly marked “Haigh Railway Proposal”

6.3 Site Visits

WLCT propose to hold a technical information day which will give potential providers a change to visit the site, examine the rail stock and speak to the park Activities team who will be on hand to answer any queries.  This will take place on Thursday 24th January 2013 between 10am and 3pm.  Please ring Louisa Bibby 01942 486902 to arrange an appointment.


6.4 The Concession

It is intended that the operator will be responsible for all repairs, the operation and maintenance of the railway.  

Further details of the requirement and site rules are detailed in item 5 above.  You are requested to state clearly in your proposal that you are in agreement with these or to highlight any which you may require changes to.     

6.5 Concession Benefits Proposal

Submissions must include a concession benefits proposal, which outlines the merits of your proposal; this should include but not be limited to any fees payable by you.

6.6 Licence Periods

It is Wigan Council’s intention to provide a three or five year licence which will include a break clause after 12 months applicable to both parties, however you may submit a number of different proposals and are asked to confirm the licence period required if it is different to the Council’s proposed timescales.  

6.7 Receipt of Proposals

Proposals will be received up to the return time and date stated.  Please ensure your proposal is delivered not later than the appointed time.  WLCT may not consider proposals received after the return date.

6.8 Acceptance of Proposals

By issuing this invitation WLCT is not bound in any way and does not have to accept the highest or any proposal.

Subject to negotiation, WLCT reserves the right to accept the whole or any specified part of the proposal unless you expressly stipulates otherwise.

6.9 Validity

Proposals shall remain valid for a period of 120 days from the return date.

6.10 Amendments

WLCT reserves the right to amend the enclosed documents at any time prior to the deadline.  Any such amendments shall be numbered, dated and issued by the contact officer named above.  

6.11 Inducements

Offering an inducement of any kind in relation to obtaining this or any other contract with WLCT will disqualify your proposal from being considered and may constitute a criminal offence.

6.12 Costs and Expenses

You will not be entitled to claim from WLCT any costs or expenses associated with the preparation of the response to this invitation.  Costs associated with follow up documentation, together with any required demonstrations, workshops, presentations, and bench-mark testing, shall be borne in full by you.  WLCT will not be liable, under any circumstance, for any costs or charges incurred by you in response to any aspect of the process whether or not your proposal is successful.

6.13 Evaluation

The proposals will be evaluated using an Initial desk top assessment to determine a short list based on: -

the proposals alignment to WLCT and Haigh Country Park vision

 benefits analysis

quality and flexibility of the proposal

Shortlisted Organisations will be requested to take part in further discussions / a presentation of the proposal(s) which will also be taken into account in the evaluation process. These will take place in late February / early March 2013.

6.14 Conditions of Contract / Licence Agreement

Conditions of Contract / Licence Agreement will be agreed following evaluation of proposals.


Anyone interested should contact Wigan Leisure Trust direct by email to B.smith@wlct.org

Closing date is 2pm 8 February 2013