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Coronavirus: Severn Valley Railway emergency appeal reaches £100,000 in two weeks

By Rory Smith | Wyre Forest | Attractions | Published:

Severn Valley Railway's emergency appeal has reached £100,000 in its first fortnight.

Severn Valley Railway

The campaign to raise £250,000 was launched in efforts to keep the company afloat over the next three months after bosses said it was "fighting for its survival".

It comes after the railway was forced to close down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Severn Valley Railway (SVR) chairman Nick Paul said: “To have reached the £100,000 milestone already is absolutely tremendous.

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"This shows how important it is for many people who love the SVR to have something to hold onto, a hope for the future when the railway will be able to return as strong as ever.

“With the railway now closed, visitor income has disappeared. We don’t know how long this situation will continue.

"Furthermore, it comes on the back of the flooding a few weeks ago, and the fact that we had to close the line between Kidderminster and Bewdley because of essential repairs to Falling Sands Viaduct. The consequent 75 per cent drop in passengers in our first weeks of operation this year meant we were already up against things.”

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General manager Helen Smith added: “We’ve pared our running costs back as far as possible, with most of our paid staff furloughed under the government scheme to underwrite 80 per cent of salary costs. Plus we won’t have to pay business rates for the next year.

"But even with these measures, we need to find £250,000 to pay for minimal essential staff cover to maintain the security of our stations and engineering workshops and protect the SVR’s world-class heritage rolling stock. We must also carefully develop a recovery strategy so that we can be ready to open again, when the time is right.

“Thank you so much to those who have supported us so far – each donation and share purchase is moving us nearer to securing the survival of the SVR.”

The SVR’s last public trains ran on March 16 and the railway has suspended services until at least the end of April.

All events due to take place until the end of May have been cancelled, including the Spring Steam and Diesel Galas, Open House and 50th anniversary events.

The Engine House Visitor Centre, all six stations, booking offices, refreshment rooms, the railway’s two pubs and the gift shops will remain closed until further notice.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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