On Tuesday evening 5th May, the board formally appointed me as General Manager and I am delighted to say what a privilege it is to hold such a vital position at the Helston Railway. I look forward to working with you all in our quest to reopen the line to Helston. Most importantly I hope I find you well and in good spirits.
Much has happened over the last 8 weeks or so since lockdown and your board has been heavily engaged working on a plan to see us through to the start of next season. It is very difficult to know what will happen next but for the foreseeable future we will remain closed. To those people who are undertaking security walks, a big thank you. To those who have offered to carry out track clearance, again thank you but we must consider your wellbeing and cannot permit it at the moment.
With income all but gone and no visitors, our main focus is on trying to secure a financial package which will see us through the current challenge. We are working very closely with the Trustees to achieve this aim. There is a combined spirit to do what it takes to keep the railway operating. I hope to have more news on that in the next few weeks.
You will know that we launched an emergency appeal a few weeks ago and the last total I have is just over £3000. That’s a fantastic result for our small railway. Thank you everyone who has donated. Our friends at Heritage Rail News have been very supportive in pushing the appeal out to their audience of 500,000 followers. Please repost this message and urge your friends to support us. Even £3000 makes a tremendous difference.
I can also tell you that our Development Fund , launched just before lockdown has so far achieved payment promises worth in the region of £3000 per annum. This is a terrific step towards funding purchases of equipment but as ever more would be welcomed.
We are expecting an announcement today from the Government of some measures to start unwinding lockdown. I must be honest and say that we don’t expect these measures will lead to the reopening of our railway. Our current planning assumes the worst and that we may not be able to carry passengers this season. On the upside when we do reopen, we might expect an upsurge in visitors and our thinking takes this into account. Closure gives us an opportunity to consolidate and undertake some much needed refurbishment as well as track work so that we hit 2021 in good shape. More about this in due course and I will update you when there are significant developments.
In the meantime, stay well and I look forward to working with you on the challenges ahead.