Passenger numbers soar on heritage lines

By Robin Jones

SEVERAL heritage railways saw passenger numbers rise during 2017, despite rising inflation and Brexit fears.

The Swanage Railway carried a total of 213,518 passengers during 2017 – an increase of 2443 passengers or 1.2% on 2016.

Just over 13,000 passengers were carried on the 60-selected day trial train service from Swanage to Wareham, above the target figure of 12,000 passengers in the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership business plan.

The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway carried more passengers than ever before in 2017 despite losing the planned visit of GWR steam railmotor No. 93 and a Santa special day because of heavy snow.

Just under 60,000 passenger journeys were recorded. Passengers have increased by 119% between 2014-17, and 2018 will see the first regular five carriage trains operated due to the ever-growing business.

The West Somerset Railway’s passenger figure for 2017 is 189,359 compared with the 2016 number of 186,603.

General manager Paul Conibeare said: “I am delighted with the results for 2017, showing the hard work put in by staff and volunteers, has resulted in another great year for the WSR.

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