Dear Supporters of the GWSR
The following letter was posted to GWSR PLC Shareholders this week - too everybody reading this we extend our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!
Dear Fellow Shareholder,
This letter is from the volunteers on the GWSR to thank you for your generous support in the year now drawing to a conclusion and to wish you and your families all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year!
It has been another record year on the railway which you own and a number of important milestones have been passed!
All the railway’s special events this year attracted more visitors and the normal operating days were also busier. In the annual report which accompanied last year’s financial statements I reported that our passenger numbers were 88,500 (for the year ended 31 January 2016). At the end of October this year we had carried more than 80,000 passengers (69,000 at the same time last year) and, with Santa bookings strongly up, and the normal busy services between Christmas and the New Year, I would not be surprised if passenger numbers for the year exceed the magical six figures for the first time ever!
The other highlights of this year’s operations were a return to traffic of both Foremarke Hall and P&O, the latter after a 31 year restoration. Both locos looked magnificent as all of you who visited the railway will know and are a huge credit to their owning groups and our steam loco department.
We added one new event this year, the Food and Drink Fayre, and this was enormously popular with travellers and traders alike and will be repeated next October - but in a bigger format!
Turning to next year, the 2017 timetable is out (see gwsr.com) and we are adding one new event to our programme of special events being a Lego Bricks and Trains weekend in May. The chartered race trains for the Cheltenham Festival are proving so popular that an extra coach is being added in March to both trains. Wartime in the Cotswolds in April was so popular last year that reinforcements are being called in for this year, and so it goes on! 2017, our last full year before the opening of Broadway station to the public on Good Friday 2018 is going to be a busy one on the running line.
But so too will it be on the extension to Broadway as the time for opening draws ever nearer!
The share issue ‘Broadway – the last mile’ has gone very well with some £925,000 of the £1,250,000 appeal raised at the time of writing. As soon as we reach the £1,000,000 point I think we will be able to see the end in sight but we will need all of the rest of the cash by the close of the appeal on 30 April 2017.
The funds raised have been put to good use as you are probably well aware. The Permanent Way gang now have the rail laid as far as Peasebrook Farm and will commence work on the station site in the New Year.
|Recent picture from railhead looking north - yes! That's Broadway goods shed in the middle distance less than 1/2 mile away!|
The Broadway construction team have pushed on with the station dramatically in the last 12 months. The footbridge is in place and the brickwork of the station building has risen to above window level with all the specialist bricks we paid so dearly for looking marvellously authentic and worth every penny!
It is remarkable what volunteers can achieve!
Again, all good wishes to you and yours for the festive season and visit the railway as often as you can in 2017!
GWSR PLC Finance Director