Introducing an appeal video showing dramatic drone footage of the Railway flooded with water, DCDR Chair Robert Gardiner explains that the flooding is the worst he has seen in Downpatrick since he started volunteering in 1997. He points out that as the water recedes, more and more damage is coming to light.
The Railway is confident that it can restore diesel railcar 458, which appeared in popular Netflix show Derry Girls. However, most of the locomotives, including 146, suffered worse damage, with the flood water reaching waist height, covering every axle and getting into every traction motor.
The process of inspecting and repairing the damage is going to take a lot of time and a lot of money.
Gardiner has written to supporters, describing the flood's impact on the Railway as “devastating” and revealing that it has left the Railway “in a state of disarray, threatening our entire future”.
DCDR will need to repair locomotives, carriages, track, bridges, platforms and buildings. The Railway's insurance assessors estimate that unavoidable costs will exceed a quarter of a million pounds. The Railway's insurance cover will only meet some of the repair and restoration costs.
The Railway may receive some limited government support, but it will.not be enough.