Swanage Railway - Appeal Launched As Existence Threatened

Titfield

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26 Jun 2013
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Just seen this on Swanage Railway Trust Website
THE SWANAGE RAILWAY TOOK 40 YEARS TO REBUILD
DON'T LET THE CORONAVIRUS KILL IT OFF!

The Swanage Railway is facing the most urgent and potentially devastating challenge in its history, thanks to extraordinary circumstances beyond its control: COVID-19 Virus. It is no exaggeration to say that the Swanage Railway, which contributes more than £15 million to the Purbeck economy every year, is fighting for its very existence.
And we need your help now - urgently!
https://www.swanagerailwaytrust.org/giving
 
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Flying Phil

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This will be affecting All of our heritage railways and the best thing to do is "Donate" to your chosen line(s)....as much and as often as you can. It is surprising how much you are saving by not going to visit, petrol, tickets, food and drink......so donate that much for each missed visit, if possible. Most railways have websites with easy on-line "donate" facilities.
 

341o2

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An excellent idea. I would have visited the Diesel Gala over 2 days and believe the Wareham service would have started early May. sorry to be a bit pessimistic over a May reopening, but seems improbable, especially as people still appear not to be heeding the PM about staying at home
 

Maybach

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This will be affecting All of our heritage railways and the best thing to do is "Donate" to your chosen line(s)....as much and as often as you can. It is surprising how much you are saving by not going to visit, petrol, tickets, food and drink......so donate that much for each missed visit, if possible. Most railways have websites with easy on-line "donate" facilities.
Easier said than done. Yes, if you're on a guaranteed income over the next few months such as a key worker salary or a pension etc. then it's a commendable idea. But if you've just lost your job, been laid off or are a self-employed person who's following government advice and can't work then this isn't an option. Sadly, donating to your favourite heritage line will have to come bottom of the list - at least for the time being.

In the last couple of days, I've seen two similar appeals from heritage railways who were already in financial difficulties, namely the West Somerset and Llangollen. Their supporters may well step up to the plate (again) but at some point there's just not going to be enough money to go round.
 

packermac

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An excellent idea. I would have visited the Diesel Gala over 2 days and believe the Wareham service would have started early May. sorry to be a bit pessimistic over a May reopening, but seems improbable, especially as people still appear not to be heeding the PM about staying at home
Railway closed until further notice. Those on 12 weeks isolation (before any extension) is mid June. You may get a diesel gala (although I would not put money on it) do not see Wareham happening this year.
Remember the Mayor of New York is talking about restrictions for 9 months. He may be wrong but if the curve is flattened to help the NHS what happens to those who have not had it when the restrictions are lifted and no vaccination available until next year at least.
 

Flying Phil

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Easier said than done. Yes, if you're on a guaranteed income over the next few months such as a key worker salary or a pension etc. then it's a commendable idea. But if you've just lost your job, been laid off or are a self-employed person who's following government advice and can't work then this isn't an option. Sadly, donating to your favourite heritage line will have to come bottom of the list - at least for the time being.

In the last couple of days, I've seen two similar appeals from heritage railways who were already in financial difficulties, namely the West Somerset and Llangollen. Their supporters may well step up to the plate (again) but at some point there's just not going to be enough money to go round.
Maybach.....I did say ..."If possible...." as I too recognise the reality for many people will be hardship and heritage railways may be considered a niche luxury. Nevertheless if we can help, then this is probably the best/only way at present.
 

BigB

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Maybach.....I did say ..."If possible...." as I too recognise the reality for many people will be hardship and heritage railways may be considered a niche luxury. Nevertheless if we can help, then this is probably the best/only way at present.
Donating what you would have spent - if you can afford it as Flying Phil said - certainly helps them keep their heads above water as they are still paying for e.g. electricity, staff, security (certainly whilst no-one is frequently around) and any costs for outsourced work, with no income.

Also this is unlikely to be fixed in the first week when restrictions are lifted. Many railways will have been in the throes of getting the rolling stock and locomotives ready for the start of the running season (usually just before Easter) and that work was stopped rather abruptly. Some railways may not have anything ready to run for weeks/months after people are allowed back out, depending on how it impacted finances and - being realistic - the health of their volunteer workforce. That is something that does worry me.

To alleviate this in the team I work with, we have been buying e.g. steel online, cut to size and working at home to manufacture parts that let us progress jobs where possible to get a head start when we can return. We are taking the financial hit and will only reclaim the expenses when we know it is prudent to do so. It's not vast amounts, and I appreciate not all volunteers can afford to do this or have facilities at home, but where possible It may help the railway survive. Oh, and it's something to do in the evening as I still need to do my day job!
 

Stewart2887

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I'd happily give, say, £50 now, if that came with a free ticket for 2021. I've never done that railway, but would like to. Lots of organisations asking for donations, and we're all hard=pressed
 

paul1609

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I'd happily give, say, £50 now, if that came with a free ticket for 2021. I've never done that railway, but would like to. Lots of organisations asking for donations, and we're all hard=pressed
You can do that with my railway and I suspect a lot of the others who use the MERAC POS system and possibly others by buying a gift card.
https://www.kesr.org.uk/tickets/gift-cards
 

wheeltapper49

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I booked 3 tickets for the WSR spring gala (cancelled} and they offered me a refund but I told them keep the £90 when it will occur. Oh yes it will !!
 

CarltonA

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I visited Corfe Castle with my parents in the early 1970s. At the back of a car park was an embankment which looked like a dismantled railway formation. This was confirmed by a local man nearby who told me it had only recently been lifted. Shortly afterwards I found a leaflet in a railway magazine about a new heritage line just starting up, it was the Swanage Railway. I sent off my junior subsciption and became a member. By now I don't expect many of the original members are still around. I very much hope they survive this present crisis.
 

Bedpan

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I thought I read somewhere that the Heritage Lottery Fund had set aside £50M to compensate heritage organisations for Coronavirus losses. but I don't know where I saw it and I haven't been able to find the article again, so I hope I'm not spreading fake news! I have no idea how for this will go, the Chinnor and Princes Risborough costs £6000 per month (so £70000 a year) but obviously larger railways will be losing considerably more, and I got the impression that the fund would be assisting all sorts of heritage operations, not just railways. Still, every little helps!
 

Titfield

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Just seen the post on the LLangollen that quotes the Talylynn costs of £25K per month during the shutdown. I wonder what the Swanage Railway rate is during the shutdown.?
 

theironroad

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Just seen the post on the LLangollen that quotes the Talylynn costs of £25K per month during the shutdown. I wonder what the Swanage Railway rate is during the shutdown.?
Not sure, but not holding the diesel gala this weekend will be a big loss of revenue for sure.
 

Titfield

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Apparently quite a costly event to put on but yes a loss of revenue. The big question will be when heritage railways are operating again will they be able to make up the lost revenue?
 

theironroad

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Seems that the target is £360,000
So far about £138,000 raised.
SR say it's costs £46,000pcm to run in only a 'care and maintenance' mode.
 

Titfield

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From their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/swanagerailway/

Swanage Railway posted a video to the playlist Swanage Railway 'Save Our Service' Appeal.
Published by Nathan Au · 2 hrs ·
Swanage Railway: Survival on a Knife Edge
The Swanage Railway is one of the Isle of Purbeck's crown jewels that carries over 200,000 passengers a year and is worth £15 million a year to the local economy.
In a brand new two part series, some of our 450 volunteers will be giving you an unequivocal insight into the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the railway and the crisis it now faces in its most critical fight for survival.
It's taken over 40 years to lovingly but painstakingly rebuild the Swanage Railway but its future is currently on a knife edge. It is absolutely crucial for us to raise our £360,000 target by the autumn and unlike never before we desperately need your help to do this.
We must implore you to donate to the 'Save Our Service' appeal and share our plea to spread the message. The Swanage Railway and its place in the Purbeck community needs saving now!
You can donate by visiting www.saveourservice.co.uk for PayPal or www.swanagerailwaytrust.org/giving for details about bank transfers and cheques along with Gift Aid that can further boost your donation by 25%.
You can also simply text 'SOS' to 70470 to donate £10. This costs £10 plus a standard rate message. Alternatively, you can choose to give any whole amount between £1 and £20. E.g. texting 'SOS 4' = £4 plus a std rate msg.
From all the furloughed staff and volunteers, thank you so much for your support and the generous donations which currently amounts to £162,156 (as of 28th May)!
 
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Titfield

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According to one source their appeal has now reached over £185,000.

However they have released another video on youtube repeating they are on a knife edge and need in total £360,000.

It doesnt seem to be clear how much any revenue from this summer - if they operate - will offset the £360,000 requirement.

I wonder what measures they will be taking to cut costs when they commence operations again?
 

theironroad

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Interesting video.

At least their staying on an even keel I guess if 46k pcm costs, so have covered 4 months of costs so far. Sounds like they've got some difficult choices ahead if normal running costs are close to 200k pcm as stated and the furlough scheme tapering off and ending in October.

Is it financially feasible to run a service while sticking to social distancing rules?
 

Titfield

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I think it is technically feasible to run a service whist observing social distancing rules but whether (leisure) passengers will wish to is another matter entirely. Only time will tell.

Blocking off 3/4 of the seats, compartment carriages, wearing masks, hand sanitiser, strict boarding and disembarking protocols, no TTIs on train, will all minimise the potential for inadvertent getting too close / contact.

As the number of infections etc decline will the public become more accepting of risk?

The problem from November is there is minimal revenue in November, January and very little in February (half term) and March (pre Easter). December will have the Santa Specials but they of course rely on very high load factors which may not be legally possible, technically feasible or desired by passengers.

Swanage Railway certainly do seem to have a plan and taking approptiate actions. As you say it is when normal running costs are incurred with the furlough scheme tapering off before ceasing. So many seasonal businesses will have the same issues. Fingers crossed.
 

Titfield

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Just seen on the BBC website Swanage Railway Future On A Knife Edge

Significant Quotes
"The summer season, which makes up 60% of our annual £3m income, is absolutely essential and with that loss we are having to focus on reducing costs to ensure it can survive over the next year."
Although it has not yet made any decisions he said the company was looking at the cost of hiring locomotives, coal, rents and salaries.
I do not know what can be realistically achieved with the price of coal or rents (as the track bed and Herston Works and Offices are owned by Dorset Council and Swanage Station is owned by Swanage Town Council).

That leaves loco hire and salaries!

If you can support the appeal please do so.

The BBC page makes clear that a number of herotage railways are in a similar position and this us acknowledged by Swanage Railway.
 

Titfield

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Apparently Swanage Railway leases / owns / has on loan:
2 X Class 33 Diesels
2 X Class 08 Diesels
2 X Diesel Multiple Units (1 X Class 117 1 X Class 121) - for the Swanage Wareham trial service.
1 X Standard 4MT (80104)
2 X U Class (31806 in service and 31625 awaiting restoration)
1 X N Class (31874 under restoration)
2 / 3 X Battle of Britain / West Country Class (257 Squadron and Sir Keith Park with Eddystone within 3 working months of being ready for service)
1 X T9 (301020)
1 X T3 (on very long term restoration)

Not withstanding boiler ticket expiry dates of the in service locos that is quite a lot of traction power to maintain / restore / insure especially when one looks at the timetable which gives a service operating requirement of about 360 loco days. (mix of 1 loco and 2 locos per day).
 

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