Home Somerset business The railway on track for an exceptional year

The railway on track for an exceptional year

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The West Somerset Railway had a much better year in 2021 than expected, despite Covid-19 problems, and now appears to be on track for full service this year, chairman Jonathan Jones-Pratt said this week.

Due to lockdowns and a late start to his schedule, officials had forecast a loss for last season of well over £250,000. In fact, this has been reduced to £55,000.

A record month of Santa Specials and new Winterlights trains brought in around £271,000. “Of that, £204,000 was a clear profit and an incredible success,” Mr Jones-Pratt said.

He added, “I have to say a big ‘thank you’ to all of our employees and volunteers who have worked tirelessly for the railroad over the past season.

“Overall the income from the Christmas season has provided a lifeline for WSR and should mean we can reopen for a full season this year with confidence. This was achieved by an extremely hardworking team and means the business is in good shape.

The company and its two supporting charities – the West Somerset Railway Association and the Heritage Trust – had agreed to put aside past difficulties to work much more closely together, he said.

With work on the new Seaward Way level crossing in Minehead completed, staff training was underway and services are expected to return to normal in the spring. Mr Jones-Pratt added: “We are really looking forward to an exciting 2022.”

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