Shropshire Star

Severn Valley Railway shares raise £1.5m

The Severn Valley Railway has reached the halfway stage of its fundraising share scheme after hitting the £1.5 million mark, delighted officials revealed today.


It is hoped a total of £3 million will be raised through the share offer to help restore some of the heritage railway's buildings and locomotives.

An academy will also be built using the money, with a pilot scheme being launched in September.

The scheme for the Bridgnorth to Kidderminster line was launched in October and has continued to go from strength to strength.

The £1.5 million figure was revealed at the heritage line's recent annual general meeting.

Nick Ralls, Severn Valley Railway's general manager, said: "We've been astounded by the fantastic response from the public and existing shareholders.

"The enterprise investment scheme, which offers taxpayers a 30 per cent rebate on their purchase of shares, has proved very popular.

"It is only available until the end of September so the next three months offer an excellent opportunity to support this wonderful railway."

Money raised so far has enabled the SVR to start planning for innovative projects including the Heritage Engineering and Building Training Academy.

A pilot scheme will be launched in September with interviews for a co-ordinator and five trainees scheduled for the end of this month.

Trainees will attend college on a full-time, two- year engineering course with two days per week spent at SVR.

After successfully completing the course, the trainees will begin a two-year apprenticeship, with their time divided equally between the college and SVR.

Further funding will go towards the restoration of SVR's flagship locomotive, 4930 Hagley Hall, and its Great Western Railway chocolate and cream coloured carriages.

The minimum investment in shares is £100, followed by multiples of £25. Benefits, depending on the number of shares, include complimentary tickets and SVR travel privileges.

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