Swanage Railway needs your help to survive

Trains at the Swanage Railway

Let’s be honest – the current economic situation hasn’t been easy for most people. Many businesses have profited hugely, but many organisations are struggling or have had to close.

An example of an organisation that needs help is the Swanage Railway Trust, which made the decision to close at the start of the lockdown in March as per Government guidance.

In accordance with the Government’s advice, the railway is closed. So it has now income from fares at the moment. The railway’s insurance does not cover this loss of earnings, so without any money coming in, its future is in danger.

Jonathan Cooper, Fireman at the Swanage Railway

Since then, the trust has been struggling from a financial aspect and has launched an SOS appeal to help raise £360,000 to help save the railway and all of the people that work and support it.

The target amount of £360,000 may seem high to some, but the upkeep cost of the Swanage Railway is in the area of £46,000 per month – even after cost reduction and furloughing staff.

In the ‘Save Our Service’ fundraising appeal video series, the trust has gathered volunteers and workers to share what the railway is like and to explain the current situation.

The Swanage Railway is currently closed because of the pandemic, so the railway has no income from fares.

Moreover, the railway doesn’t operate in the winter months. Therefore, the targeted amount will help cover the monthly expenses during the upcoming low-income period.

We’re hopeful that we will be able to reach the target, we’re going to compliment it with other funding sources but at the same time we need to take a very close look at all our costs to reduce them, in terms of practical so the railway can survive next year.

Gavin Johns, Chairman of the Swanage Railway Trust

This heritage railway carries over 200,000 passengers and brings an estimated £15 million to the local economy each year. It’s a real piece of history, economic driver and key tourist attraction in the Purbeck area.

So far, the railway has done everything possible to reduce costs, including furloughing staff.

The Swanage Railway has raised more than £220k (as of 19th June), but much more is needed to ensure the survival of this historically and economically important railway.

Learn more and donate over at or watch the full ‘Save Our Service’ Appeal video playlist.

I dread to imagine if this line went how many businesses would be affected, particularly in the hospitality area … if that went too at the end of all this it would be catastrophic.

Richard Drax, Member of Parliament for South Dorset

It's been a remarkable week with our new 'Save Our Service' videos and helpful coverage by the media giving our plea the…

Posted by Swanage Railway on Friday, 12 June 2020
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