Severn Valley Railway's emergency appeal soars to £650,000
Thousands of people have dug deep to support the Severn Valley Railway, with more than £650,000 being raised to secure its longevity.
The heritage attraction launched an emergency appeal in March to keep it ticking over on a care and maintenance basis during its enforced closure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
A rush of donations and share purchases meant the railway quickly passed its original target of £250,000.
Now a further £400,000 has been secured to help mitigate what bosses called a "significant loss in income" caused by the Covid-19 crisis, which shortly followed severe floods that resulted in a 75 per cent drop in passenger numbers earlier this year.
SVR general manager Helen Smith said the level of support the railway has received is "remarkable".
“We have been truly humbled to see how much people care about the railway and how determined they are to make sure we survive," she said.
"Some of the messages that people have sent with their donations talk about their hopes for the future and how they’re looking forward to travelling with us again as soon as possible.
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"We are immensely grateful to everyone who has got behind us to help.
“However, there’s no escaping the fact that we face a huge challenge to get the railway through this crisis.
"It’s not clear when we’ll be able to reopen, or the nature of social distancing restrictions that will be needed to operate safely.
"We’ve already suffered a huge loss in income from tickets and secondary spend, and don’t know how long this will continue.
“In the course of a normal year, we make around £4.5 million of essential investments back into the railway, paid for out of visitor revenue.
"Clearly during the current year we will not be able to fund all the work that’s needed, although we still want to do as much as possible.
"That’s why we’re continuing to fundraise, to secure a viable future for the SVR.”
The railway ran its last public passenger service on March 15 and closed its associated pubs, cafes and shops. The attraction also had to cancel a number of major revenue-generating events, such as the Spring Steam and Diesel Galas, its popular 1940s weekends, and the celebrations that would have been taking place later this month to mark the 50th anniversary of its public train services.
People can donate to the appeal at https://svr.digitickets.co.uk/category/27224
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