Save your Railway

In November 2023 we launched our emergency 'Save Your Railway' appeal targeted to raise £450,000 in direct support of the Company. This was desperately needed as, despite a very successful year operationally, supported by a good summer season and a 19% increase in footfall generally, we're still below pre-pandemic visitor numbers. 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 continues to hit our business hard.

This appeal has so far successfully raised £120,000 and has seen us to the beginning of our 2024 operating season, but more help is needed. In the background both the Trust's Council of Management and the Companies Board continue to work hard to improve our financial position. December of last year saw the initiation of a voluntary redundancy process, we continue to look 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've had to identify expenditure savings (or enhanced income) of approximately £350,000. It hasn't been easy and has and will continue to involve a number of painful decisions. It was crystal clear that we needed a robust and deliverable plan to restructure and refinance the Company. With that in mind we have created a Business Recovery 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 Plan will involve reinventing the railway into a broader and more commercial visitor experience, and we recognise this will not be achieved overnight. In fact, without the support of this appeal to 'plug the gap' as we work to implement this Recovery Plan, there is still a risk that the Swanage Railway will have to close its doors.

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.

Learn more about the challenges we face in our new video series

Thank you.


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.


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