Shropshire Star

Severn Valley Railway's 'Survival Fund' set to hit £500,000 milestone

An emergency appeal to keep the Severn Valley Railway on track is about to hit its first milestone.

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The SVR Santa Special at Arley Station last year

Last April, the heritage line, which is one of region's most popular tourist attractions, launched an urgent appeal for donations, as bosses warn it may not survive its current financial crisis.

The £1.5 million Survival Fund appeal came after a "double whammy" of "escalating costs and lower revenue" prompting the urgent action.

At the time of launching the fund, Chris Walton, interim chairman of SVR (Holdings) Plc, the railway's operating company, said: "We’re facing the double whammy of escalating costs and lower revenue.

“Costs across the railway have spiralled, including utilities, coal, diesel, steel, copper, catering supplies and interest rates.

"We would not be making this appeal if it wasn’t completely necessary for the survival of the railway, and we hope our supporters will understand the difficulties we face, and give us their backing.”

Seven months on, and the appeal is about to hit the £500,000 mark, having received more than £470,000 of donations by last weekend.

However, the attraction still needs to find another £1 million to keep it it afloat.

The railway has conducted a raft of cost-cutting measures, including recruitment freezes for non-essential roles as well as voluntary and compulsory redundancies.

A spokesperson for SVR said: "Our programme of events and services in 2023 has been as vibrant as ever, and we’re planning even more for 2024.

"It is crucially important to us to continue to attract visitors, as this will play a huge part in getting us through the challenges we face. We’re confident we can deliver on and surpass visitor expectations."

Severn Valley Railway is currently preparing for its festive period, one of the busiest for the attraction, which will see Santa Trains departing Kidderminster each weekend from Saturday November 24 and will run until Friday December 22.

You can donate to the Survival Fund by visiting