Engineer Allan Pyne, 54, was worried about his family’s mobility in old age.
So he took a rather unconventional step: he built a 50ft railway up the hillside that leads into their home.
Allan’s home is perched on a steep hill, and he noticed many neighbours ended up moving home when they became too old to tackle the steps to their front door.
Allan was determined to stick around, so spent nearly 20 years creating his own railway to make the journey up the hill easier.
The completed track, in Dawlish, Devon, has tracks, carriage, and a huge winch, and is activated with a simple remote control.
Allan, a railway signal engineer, said: ‘We’ve lived her for 20 years and people tend to leave the street because they can’t manage the steps to their homes because they’re too steep.
‘We’ve got a lovely spot with a view of the sea and it’s too nice to sell up and move.
‘I wanted to come up with a solution so I started digging.’
Allan, who lives with his wife, Rachel, began work in 2002 and over the past 18 years he has shifted 150 tonnes of earth and rubble.
He admits it’s taken a while, but said he worked on the project ‘on and off’ when he wasn’t working away from home.
He added: ‘We had steps and I dug out the garden so there was a gradual incline, so that I could lay a track.
‘The track is now two feet wide and there’s a truck, like an old miners truck but without the bucket on top.
‘Now me and my wife can get on this track and get winched to the top, by clicking ‘up’ on the remote control – it’s like a TV remote.’
Allan said the project has cost them around £15,000, mostly in skip hire as he completed the physical labour himself.
But that’s nothing compared to the value added to his property, which Allan said he couldn’t begin to estimate but has been reported elsewhere as £30,000.
Allan, who volunteers for the Railway Children Charity, added:’”It’s not quite finished, we’ve still got things to do. It will be another year until it’s completed, but it is functional.
‘I’m an engineer and did it all myself, but I’m not a civil engineer – I work on signals.
‘Over 30 years in the industry I have picked up lots of skills by watching my colleagues work, so I just gave it a go.
‘My wife thought I was mad at the beginning but now she gets on with the shipping and gets winched to the top, so she’s on board now.
‘It will be more and more useful in years to come.’
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