The general manager of Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways is urgently appealing for public help, after the railway closes amid the coronavirus situation.
Paul Lewin, who appears in a video message, made the difficult decision to suspend train services in light of government advice.
In a statement earlier this week, Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways said: “Last week the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways closed down public train operations and immediately closed all cafés and bars when guided to do so by UK government. Some forty seasonal staff expecting to start work this week will not now be able to do so. The majority of the permanent staff have been sent home under furlough arrangements.
“F&WHR would like to go on record as thanking those volunteers, numbered in their hundreds, all of whom – without exception – respected the guidance not to travel for the traditional spring working party last weekend. There will be no further volunteer work on the railway until government restrictions are lifted.
“With the further developments last night, engineering staff are making safe and closing down railway work-sites before being asked to stay at home. In particular, care is being taken not to leave scaffolding or open workings. This will take several days to complete and is being carried out by a limited number of staff.
“The railway will go forward with a limited number of essential staff at workshop sites and offices. Work to ensure security, key maintenance inspections and payments to staff and suppliers will continue. Local residents are reminded that trains could be present at any time on Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway tracks. It is very dangerous indeed to use them as walking routes for exercise purposes.
Mr Lewin added: “These are immensely testing times and it has been difficult to keep up with the rapid changes and advice. We will be making every effort to look after our staff and to secure the survival of our business. Both our MP and AM have already offered their support for which we are most grateful.”
How can you help?
All of your generous donations will be used to substitute for lost revenue during the period of closure.
This will ensure that work on locomotives, carriages, track and all other areas of the railway can continue as far as possible and that the skilled staff are retained at this difficult time. The strategy is to keep the railways in as near as operable position as possible so a swift return to running services is possible at the appropriate time.