The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway has announced that it has launched an appeal for help from supporters as it faces a cash crisis.
Thanks to an embankment slip and closure of the line because of Coronavirus, the line is unable to run and fund the urgent civil engineering work to repair the line.
Repairs were carried out for trains to pass the landslip site before the line reopened after its winter break on 7th March 2020. Special trains were operated for the Cheltenham Festival.
The problem, unfortunately, has escalated with regards to the coronavirus outbreak, and the line has had to close until further notice.
Therefore, there is no income from passenger tickets or catering. It has also caused special events such as Wartime in the Cotswolds and the Cotswold Festival of Steam which attracts thousands of visitors.
You can donate to the GWSR by clicking here.
What did the officials say?
Richard Johnson, the voluntary Chairman of GWSR Plc, explains:
“Standing at the top of the affected embankment, we are in every sense staring into a black hole that is fast sucking in cash.
“We can’t halt work on the slip, which has turned out to be more severe than originally thought. We believe it was caused by persistent heavy rain following a dry summer. The ground is continuing to move.
“If we halt works now to save money, the eventual repair cost will be considerably greater than if work continues now.
“And, as if this wasn’t bad enough, the escalating Coronavirus pandemic has meant that the line has had to close.
“What’s more, a high proportion of the volunteers on our volunteer-run railway, are unable to offer their time because they are in the ‘high risk’ category and must self-isolate.”
“Closing the railway means that money will very quickly run out and we are therefore appealing to supporters, shareholders and the public, who gain so much enjoyment from the operation of trains, to generously respond to our appeal.
“We need to raise at least £250,000 as quickly as we can. Otherwise the consequences are unthinkable: we would face a stark future for our line.”
“This is a real double blow. We believe we could have funded most of the embankment repair cost had trains been running and we could have planned for an appeal for support over a longer period. But trains are not running and we need to replace that lost revenue: and fast.”
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