West Somerset Railway release Official Statement regarding COVID-19

7828 "Odney Manor" Fresh from Overhaul // Credit WSR

The West Somerset Railway PLC’s Board have released an Official Statement regarding the present COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak which is currently having huge implications on the whole Heritage Railway sector.

Like every other preserved railway in the United Kingdom (UK), the West Somerset Railway is currently closed due to the UK Government’s advice and instructions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the National Health Service (NHS) during this outbreak.

Following the hard work and support last year, the West Somerset Railway was hoping 2020 would be another year of success to help the railway out of its difficult times.

Unfortunately, this recovery is now on hold. The line is likely to be closed until at least June 2020, meaning for the first six months of 2020, the WSR will only take a small amount of revenue. Therefore the West Somerset Railway need your support more than ever.

The official statement from the WSR PLC can be found here. To support the West Somerset Railway, please click here. visit their website

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  1. The WSR created their own problems long before the present situation, and their attempt to bully the S&D group into bailing them out shows what sort of company they are. They don’t deserve a penny while other railways, ones that are run properly and treat people decently, are at risk.

  2. Some of you will remember the previous Chairman of WSR said it was necessary to reduce the wages bill as the railway were heading for financial trouble. He failed to get support & resigned. He was eventually replaced by the current Chairman who after a short time in office came to the same conclusion. Cuts were necessary for the railway to survive. The General Manager departed ( reason unknown) Extensive rail replacementS were required & revised safety training program installed. The present situation has come at the wrong time for WSR however they have had to look hard at all aspects of income & expenditure. S & D operations at Williton have apparently never paid any rent, giving them notice to quit was unacceptable without discussion. The WSR are fighting for survival but business manners should still prevail.

  3. All preserved railways will face an uncertain future and it may not be the big ones that survive? The problem with the latter, is they are no longer preservation societies as such but sizeable companies, that carry the same risks of others in industry. With countless millions invested, public donations would not have saved Rover, nor will they be enough to go around to save preserved lines. Some preserved lines could close for good, simply on grounds of being too complex and with the prospect of less money in people’s pockets, the return to pre -virus business could take years? The lines that could see the ‘Sun-Lite Up Lands’ again are likely to be the smaller organisations, who rely heavily on volunteers and don’t run long and expensive distances. The Coris railway could be one such line that weathers the storm?


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