The Severn Valley Railway has announced that their short term future has been secured thanks to a huge response to their Emergency Appeal.
A huge £416,000 has been donated to the steam railway after it had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the railway has pledged to continue fundraising so that it will be able to invest in essential projects in the coming year despite a ‘devastating’ drop in its income.
Despite this good news, problems for the railway are far from over. With the announcement that it must remain closed throughout May and June because of restrictions, the railway has cancelled its 1940s Weekend at the end of June.
As the coronavirus impact hit, the SVR was already feeling the effects of a 75% drop in passenger numbers because of the February floods.
In light of the ongoing challenge, the three SVR companies (SVR (Holdings) plc, the SVR Company Limited and the SVR Charitable Trust) are jointly appealing for donations to their Fight Back Fund.
This Fund will support the railway’s recovery both during the current crisis and in the tough months that will follow the lifting of restrictions.
To donate to the SVR’s Fight Back Fund, or to buy shares in the railway, please visit their website at www.svr.co.uk
What did the officials say?
Reacting to news of the Emergency Appeal’s success, SVR chairman Nick Paul CBE said:
“We are deeply grateful to every single person who has come to our aid to take away the immediate threat to the Railway’s future. We have received thousands of donations from across the region, the country and the world. The wonderful messages of support that came with them tell us we’re doing the right thing in working so hard to keep the SVR dream alive.”
“In truth, we are facing a longer term and more serious threat than we could have envisaged. The devastating loss of income during our peak running season means we will not be able to make this year’s crucial annual investment into the railway. This would have been in the region of £4.5million, to fund essential restorations to our infrastructure and rolling stock, along with apprentice training and a desperately needed overhaul of our IT infrastructure which is creaking at the seams.
“Even when we are eventually able to re-open, it’s likely that we will have fewer passengers, with people reluctant to take part in social activities and an anticipated ban on mass gatherings. It may be that we won’t see a return to sustainable levels of passenger revenue until well into next year.”
“We’re calling it the Fight Back Fund, because this is exactly what SVR folk are known for. Our pioneering preservationists did it when they brought the line back from ruin in the late 1960s; we managed it following the devastation of the storms in 2007; and with the help of our wonderful supporters now, even in the face of the current crisis, we’ll do it again.”
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