The Chairs of both the West Somerset Railway PLC (WSR PLC) and the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA) today announce the launch of The West Somerset Railway Locomotive Restoration Fund.
This is a new appeal centred on the long term security of ex GWR locomotives operating on the WSR, through the provision of three locomotives of complementary sizes – Large Prairie 4110, owned by the WSR plc, and two locomotives owned by the WSRA, Small Prairie 4561 and Manor Class 7821, “Ditcheat Manor”.
John Irven, Chair of the WSR PLC and Paul Whitehouse, Chair of the WSRA, have issued the following statement:
“The WSRA membership voted decisively last year to have 4561 and 7821 restored and running on the WSR. 4110 is owned by the WSR PLC, with an existing fund raising programme including a shareholder appeal in 2015.
“However, running two separate fund raising exercises for the locomotives makes little sense to us. We have concluded that all three locomotives should now be covered by the same fund raising programme. It will be led by the Association, which as a charity can benefit from Gift Aid where appropriate, with funding disbursed on a phased basis as the work takes place. The first phase will focus on finishing the restoration of 4561, with the PLC also starting work on 4110.
“Current discussions between the two organisations anticipate that 4561 will be required for traffic in 2021, 4110 in 2022 and 7821 in 2026.
“The WSRA has a clear role to support the heritage of the West Somerset Railway, as part of coordinated fundraising by all railway family members. By taking on this appeal, the WSRA will free up the WSR PLC to concentrate on raising funds for other key investment projects.
“We both call on all supporters of the West Somerset Railway to back this initiative.”