Great Central Railway launches emergency appeal


Photo: D. Weaver/Great Central Railway

The Great Central Railway has launched an emergency appeal to be able to continue with planned essential works – amid COVID-19 uncertainty.

Great Central Railway started the year on a firm financial footing after a successful 2019. However the COVID-19 pandemic meant all operations closed in late March, and remained so until July. Since then, the Great Central Railway has been challenged to generate any reasonable levels of income.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the Great Central Railway’s management made a decision not to launch a crisis appeal like other heritage railways to avoid detracting donations away from other appeals, such as that for the locomotive works.

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Now, months later, funds set aside for many other planned projects have been used up for vital day-to-day cash flow and an appeal has been launched to replenish some of these funds.

Specifically, the Railway’s appeal has three main areas of focus:

Bridge 341 replacement: Bridge 341 stands just north of Quorn & Woodhouse station and carries the Great Central line across a farm track. The bridge deck is now over 120 years old and is to be replaced.

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Quorn yard: Works are required at Quorn & Woodhouse station including car park resurfacing, continuation of the conversion of the former Goods Shed to a classroom and education centre and work on the tree line which borders the station.

Fencing reinstatement: A significant amount of fencing along the line needs to be renewed or reinstated. Fencing both protects our boundaries and prevents people from straying onto the line.

Mike Gough, Managing Director of Great Central Railway, said: “The enforced closure has impacted massively on our operations and available cash flow. We are, however, committed to ensuring that as we expand our activities for the remainder of the year as best we can, whilst giving our customers the authentic heritage experience they have come to expect, within an environment that is safe for staff and visitors alike.

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“A successful appeal will help to ensure that all of our operations are well maintained and we can enter into 2021 with renewed hope for our future and the preservation of our heritage.”

Hope for Great Central Railway

The last few weeks has seen Great Central Railway reopen its’ cafes at Rothley and Quorn now operating daily and trains running at weekends, but the Railway say that revenue from this will not cover costs at current capacity, due to social distancing and the associated increase in operating costs.

The Railway’s management are delighted to confirm that the crisis has not prevented their ability to stage COVID-19 secure versions of firm Christmas favourites, Winter Wonderlights and Santa Specials. Tickets will be available shortly.

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The Railway also confirm that their 1st Class Pullman Dining service will recommence services as of September 19, with safety screens fitted inside all of their restaurant cars.

Donations can be made at www.gcrailway.co.uk/emergency-project-appeal/

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