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About the CV Emergency Appeal

Emergency appeal As you are no doubt well aware the Bluebell Railway along with many other businesses in the heritage and leisure sectors has been forced to close due to the current pandemic. This could not have been at a worse time for us as we are at the start of what was expected to be an extremely busy summer season celebrating our 60th anniversary year. We had many exciting events planned but most have either had to be cancelled or postponed until next year. These included the extensive 60th Anniversary Celebrations planned for early August. Each of these events is crucial to the Railway because they provide vital funds from our visitors. This substantial loss of revenue will have a critical effect on the Railway's finances.
So how are we coping with the enforced shutdown?
Our volunteers are not able to come to the Railway for the foreseeable future and, in addition, all of our paid staff have been placed on the Government funded Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough). Therefore, no trains are running and all work on our restoration and maintenance projects has been suspended temporarily. Please be assured that we have however put significant effort into additional security and monitoring to protect the railway.
At this time of year, our coffers are depleted after the winter months. We rely heavily on our early season activities to keep the essential services funded. Some of the Government initiatives will help defray a large part of our employment costs but there are many other costs and expenses that have to be met regardless of whether trains are running. Our only income at present is through our online shop (which incidentally has an expanding range available).
Please Donate We are now launching a special Emergency Appeal that will provide support to the Railway as a whole and particularly to ensure that our unique heritage experience and the vital skills are preserved ready for when we can once again welcome visitors.
The biggest challenge facing the Railway is the 'recovery' period once the current lockdown is released. In the short term, it is doubtful that visitor numbers will bounce back to normal levels but most employment and other overhead costs will have to be met long before the revenue recovers.
CV Emergency Appeal progress
In early May we expanded the Emergency Appeal from its initial launch on Virgin Money Giving to become a major appeal to members and supporters.
This appeal will fund the immediate costs of re-opening the Railway safely. We will re-engage our volunteers and paid staff to ensure our Railway is fit to run but this will incur substantial costs with little revenue. The initial target was to raise at least £300,000, but in early June it became apparent that, with the situation continuing to evolve, further support would be required to see us through the summer and into the winter months when our income tends to be lower but we still have bills to pay and overheads to meet, so we need to keep this appeal going and hope people will continue to contribute to our recovery.
Our paid staff and volunteers have important skills to enable the Railway to operate. Not only are these skills required for regulatory and insurance reasons but also staff have developed detailed knowledge and experience that in many cases is irreplaceable. It is within the Trust's charitable objects to ensure that vital heritage skills are preserved and through this appeal the Trust will fund the costs of achieving this until such time as the income from visitors is sufficient to do so once again.
We are extremely grateful to you for your generosity if you have already responded. However, if you have not yet been able to support the Bluebell Railway in these unprecedented times we would be very grateful if you would consider doing so. Details of how to donate are set out here. Any donation to support the Railway at this difficult time will be most genuinely appreciated.
Remember: if your donation is eligible for Gift Aid every £100 donated will be worth £125 to the project.
So please help us secure the future of the Railway, and donate now.
Thank you for your support.


Support the appeal by joining our Virtual Track Trek on 27 June

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Virtual Track Trek
Empty coaching stock behind 'Camelot' at Waterworks - Peter Edwards - 30 November 2019
65 ready to head north from Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 29 February 2020
178 at Sheffield Park - Brian Lacey - 11 February 2020
The local train approaches Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 13 October 2019
80151 being admired at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 22 February 2020
S15 at Birchstone Bridge - Derek Hayward - 8 September 2019
LCDR coach 114 - 4 Nov 2006 - Richard Salmon
Q-class with Santa Special - Steve Lee - 7 December 2019
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Last updated by Richard Salmon, 7 June 2020
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The Bluebell Railway Trust is a Registered Charity, No. 292497