Severn Valley Railway share offer hits £500,000 after a month
More than £500,000 has been made in the first month of a scheme to buy shares in the Severn Valley Railway.
By the end of December 1 - exactly one month since the programme's launch - applications to purchase shares in the railway at a price of £1 each had passed the half a million mark, a key step along the way to achieving the ambitious £2.5 million total by the end of October 2017.
The railway is trying to raise the funds to improve facilities at Bridgnorth station.
The share offer proceeds are destined to provide much-improved visitor facilities at the station, as well as conserving the existing station built in 1862 and will be the railway's most ambitious restoration and development in its 51 year history.
Improved facilities at Bridgnorth are expected to provide a boost to the local economy as SVR's development will attract more visitors to the town .
At the same time, construction work began on the first phase of the Bridgnorth development, where contractors started the month-long task of sinking, casing and reinforcing the 63 piles needed to create solid foundations for the station's new refreshment room next to the existing station building.
Chairman Nick Paul has welcomed the new milestone.
He said: "The level of interest and support is heartening and it is clear there is a great deal of affection for the railway as applications are coming from new as well as existing supporters.
"We're delighted to have achieved 20 per cent of our overall target in this first month but remain well aware that we are a long way off the total needed so we're not resting on our laurels and would urge anyone who may be able to support us but hasn't yet to get in touch.
"While we are one of the region's biggest tourist attractions, many forget we are a not-for-profit organisation and volunteer-run so every pound invested is vital."
The remainder of the first phase of development includes alterations to the 1862 neo-Jacobean, grade-II listed station building to reinstate the original booking hall and waiting room and expand the Railwayman's Arm pub s as well as significant works to improve the public areas.
Second phase works include the installation of a turntable, more improvements to the public section and opening up road access with better car parking to accommodate significantly higher visitor numbers at the northern end of the line.
Full share offer information can be found at svr.co.uk/shareoffer or by calling 01562 757900.
Alternatively, those wishing to donate to the Bridgnorth Development Fund without purchasing shares can do so via the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust, which may be able to apply for a further 25 per cent Gift Aid on donations from taxpayers.