£60k windfall eludes ‘wells’
The East Lancashire Railway has lost out on an estimated £60,000 for its appeal to purchase City of Wells, owing to the cancellation of a fundraising railtour with Flying Scotsman.
The ‘A3’ was due to haul the ‘Wells Flyer’ from Bury to Holyhead on September 15, to raise money for the ELR’s £340,920 appeal to buy No. 34092 – but the tour was cancelled at 11 days’ notice because of an engineering blockade.
Said ELR Financial Director David Layland: “The train had only about 50 seats left, and we would have expected to sell those as well – but we’ve had to refund 500-odd passengers at £140 each.
“The Class 40 Preservation Society [which is assisting with the ‘Wells’ fund] has also lost two tours,” he added, referring to the fact that Type 4 No. 40145 was booked for the stock positioning moves on which seats were sold.
“Overall we’ve probably lost out on about £55,000-60,000.”
Network Rail Media Relations Manager Jack Harvey told Steam Railway:
“The engineering possession covered the Chat Moss lines.
It was a late notice possession for works to meet deadlines of the North West electrification programme. An alternative route to Crewe via Stockport was offered to the charter operator using Flying Scotsman, however they declined to use this route.”
Mr Layland explained: “Going via Stockport would have meant leaving Bury at about 5.30am instead of 7.30am, put the crew out of hours, and meant that Flying Scotsman would have arrived at Crewe facing the wrong way and at the wrong end of the train.”
The agreement with the current owners states that the ELR must complete the purchase of No. 34092 by the end of 2018 – but with the fund currently standing at just under £300,000, Mr Layland said: “This won’t affect our ability to buy it – it just means we’ve had to borrow a bit. The intention is still to complete the purchase by the end of the year.”