It was in early May that I last wrote to you following the successful conclusion of the 'Broadway the last mile' share issue which generated £80,000 more than our original target to end at £1,330,000.
This coming week I am pleased to update you with the railway's commercial results for the first half year which, I am pleased to say, have been good!
Overall passenger numbers at 46550 were up very slightly on 2016 with a measurable change towards more passengers on normal running days and away from special events. This is a good thing as the railway is, on some special event days, beginning to be constrained by capacity.
With generally good weather up until June all our special events did well, the race trains and the wartime weekend achieving new records, but our railway has now become a firm favourite with tour operators and this is a major driver of the move to busier ordinary running days.
For the first 6 months, turnover was nearly £1 million and like gross profit was almost exactly on budget. With some cost reductions in our overheads our operating profit (which to all intents and purposes is our cash flow) came in at a healthy £225,000.
I like to say that 5 paid staff and 900 volunteers came together and in 6 months generated nearly a quarter of a million pounds in cash!
Receipts for the Santa trains have already started to come in, so I forecast our railway will have another excellent year, our last in the current format before the opening to Broadway.
Finally, on operations, there was the no small matter of opening Hayles Abbey Halt which was a huge credit to the Heritage Group and, in particular, Jim Graham who lead the project.
Turning now to capital works, I can confirm all is on target to open Broadway station to the public on Good Friday, 30 March 2018. Although much remains to be done the embankment repairs at Broadway were completed in July and the heritage roof for the station, made by our steam loco department, was craned into position in May - see photo. In addition, good progress has been made with developing relationships with businesses and the community in Broadway which I am sure will be mutually beneficial.
At Winchcombe. the new visitor centre, for which we won the Aviva Community award, is nearing completion and will be first used for the Santa trains. See second photo.
All in all, everything moves along at our railway very smoothly.