The Talyllyn Railway has reported strong trading figures for 2021.
Because of the pandemic lockdown, 2021’s trading only started in May.
Despite the reduced operating period, 2021 has been very successful with extremely healthy visitor numbers.
Revenue is close to matching 2019’s figures, which was in itself a record-breaking year.
Stuart Williams, General Manager, commented: “The COVID restrictions which were in force at the start of this year meant that we couldn’t open until May, so we had missed the early part of the season and Easter, which traditionally would have seen us take around 15% of our annual income. To be almost matching the 2019 turnover figure is better than we could have ever envisaged, even more so when we have been having to restrict numbers of passengers on our trains.”
“Initially, we put in place changes allowing customers to enjoy a steam train ride in their own compartment, maintaining a physical barrier between them and other groups of passengers. When the restrictions eased in August, mixed seating areas were re-introduced but the ability to book a private area was maintained.”
Stuart added: “We’ve been inundated with positive comments about the way we managed the services to be COVID safe. It’s a testament to our staff and volunteers who have had to be very flexible with our planning. In previous years the Railway would shut after the October half term until the Santa Specials in December, but this year we’ve decided to run every weekend until the end of the year, as well as daily between Boxing Day and 5th January.”
“Many local accommodation providers and hospitality owners have reported that they had lots of bookings for the autumn. We decided it would be worth continuing to run services and the Talyllyn has enjoyed passenger numbers more akin to May weekends!”
“The extra revenue these weekends bring is making a big difference to the winter finances and is also bringing people to the town in what is usually a quiet season. Come along and find out for yourself how lovely the Fathew Valley and Cardigan Bay are over autumn and winter. There are plenty of walks in the area which are perfect for crisp, autumnal days!