Save your Railway
Save Your Railway!
In the last 12 months we've made some fantastic achievements as a railway. From welcoming back the Flying Scotsman last year, our Train of Lights and Winter Warm Up events, hosting "Britannia" and being the first railway to offer driver experiences, the spectacular Steam, Diesel and Road to Rail galas, through to delivering the second trial of Wareham services, the farewell visit of the HST and now the launch of the T3. On the face of it, we've had a very successful year.
Despite these events, a good summer season and a 19% increase in footfall generally, we're still below visitor numbers before the pandemic. Alongside this our costs have continued to rise, especially in coal and energy costs due to the war in Ukraine, plus unexpected expenditure such as the repairs to Bridge 11. All this combined has hit our business hard.
Both the Trust's Council of Management and the Companies Board are working hard to improve our financial position but, being a mostly seasonal business and with the winter season upon us, we need help to see us through to the beginning of our 2024 running season. Already we've initiated a voluntary redundancy process, are looking into the disposal of assets surplus to the railway, and indeed are looking at cuts elsewhere, but there's only so much that can be done in a short period without causing further detriment to the railway itself.
As a railway, we need to identify expenditure savings (or enhanced income) of approximately £350K. We recognise this will not be easy, and has and will involve a number of painful decisions. It is crystal clear that we will need a robust and deliverable plan to restructure and refinance the Company. With that in mind we will be building a new business case and plan for the Company, designed to make it more efficient and effective, attracting increasing numbers of passengers beyond the levels prior to the pandemic.
This will involve reinventing the railway into a broader and more commercial visitor experience, and we recognise this will not be achieved overnight. Therefore the Trust has launched an emergency 'Save Your Railway' appeal targeted to raise £450,000 in direct support of the Company during these next fews months whilst these changes are made.
So, we turn to you, our loyal supporters, to please donate what you can to help Save Your Railway. We're well aware of the cost-of-living crisis affecting us all, but as little as a pound can help us immensely. All proceeds will go directly to supporting the Swanage Railway Company.
This is appeal is made by the Swanage Railway Trust (04115126), a registered charity No. 1087318. The proceeds from the appeal are intended to be used to support the general purposes of the Swanage Railway Company (01412568) but in the event that this is not possible, the Swanage Railway Trust reserves the right to use any donations made for their own charitable aims.