IT has been a top destination for train enthusiasts for nearly 25 years.

But staff at York Model Railway fear they could now be derailed, to make way for the multi-million-pound revamp of York Station.

William Heron, the attraction's managing director, has warned that the firm cannot afford to fund a relocation, and says that unless someone else pays for them to move, they will close.

As previously reported in The Press, GNER drew up plans for a major redevelopment of the station, shortly before losing its franchise to National Express East Coast.

The proposals include a first-floor development, ten new shops, and an expanded main concourse, and would see the model railway building converted back into a tea-room, as it was before the model railway was set up in 1984.

National Express is now "reviewing" the plans ahead of submitting a formal application. The firm would not comment specifically on the attraction's future.

Mr Heron said: "The relocation of York Model Railway would involve up to six months, to dismantle and rebuild the model railway layouts.

"York Model Railway could not fund this cost and it would mean the loss of this amenity to York, unless the resiting could be to a location at least as viable as the present site and funded by GNER or their successor."

He said the attraction was best kept at the station, as it is railway-associated. He said: "As far as we are concerned, we keep running it as long as we can, but it is not an easy thing to move."

The station plans have also been criticised by Micklegate Planning Panel, which assesses proposed developments in that area of the city. In a written submission to the council, the panel said: "The tourist information centre will be lost and the travel centre - already inadequate in size - will be made yet smaller as part of the development, to cram in yet more shops.

"It appears we are so busy worrying about retail opportunities' that we have forgotten what the railway station is for."

But York Civic Trust has supported the plans, saying they were well thought-through, and would preserve the Victorian buildings.

A spokesman for City of York Council said an application for listed building alterations had been received, but redevelopment required full planning permission. He said the authority was awaiting submission of the necessary documents.