Railway raises £250,000 in 10 weeks
By Rob Freeman | 2nd June 2020
They may not be able to jump on board for a ride, but supporters of a vintage railway have ensured a campaign to raise funds for crucial repairs has steamed beyond its destination well ahead of schedule.
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust launched a £250,000 appeals finish work on an embankment landslip in March - just as coronavirus restrictions derailed activity and put the brakes on income.
But in just 10 weeks, the charitable body which carried more than 125,000 passengers on the 14 miles Cheltenham to Broadway line last year, the amount raised has rocketed to £255,000.
GWRT chairman Glyn Cornish said £250,000 was the expected shortfall in paying for the embankment repairs.
He said: "To have reached the full amount in just 10 weeks and at a time when so many people are facing their own difficulties, and when there are so many appeals for help, is just astonishing.
"I know that all of the volunteers on our railway are deeply grateful for every penny contributed.
"More than 1,300 people have made contributions and from the bottom of my heart, I want thank everyone who has helped meet our target."
He continued: "Whether £5 or £5,000, there is no doubt ithas secured the future of our wonderful railway. Contributors can be assured every penny raised has gone into the landslip repair.
"It very humbling to know that our railway is so well loved by so many people."
The landslip between Bishop's Cleeve and Gotherington has been repaired by specialist contractors, using both soil nailing and sheet piling techniques to permanently secure the embankment.
Mr Cornish said: "The embankment is well over 100 years old and while we can't say for certain that something like this won't happen again, we know we can effectively repair such embankment slips and we are working continuously on improving drainage to avoid such future occurrences.
"What we couldn't possibly foresee was that coronavirus would close this and every other British heritage railway, cutting off its income and thus its ability to meet big bills like this."
The appeal has been closed but if supporters wish to contribute it will go into the Trust's funds to support other projects.
The railway will remain closed at least until the end of August and has cancelled all remaining events on the line.
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