£60k wind­fall eludes ‘wells’

Steam Railway (UK) - - NEWS FOCUS -

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.”

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