Bluebell Railway launches emergency appeal for funds after coronavirus closure

The Bluebell Railway has launched an appeal for donations after it suspended its train services and closed until further notice.

The heritage steam railway in Sussex closed on Friday (20 March) to protect the health of its staff, volunteers and visitors in the current pandemic.

It has now set up a donations site so that supporters can continue to contribute to the railway.

The ‘Support the Bluebell Railway’ appeal site says: “The Bluebell Railway, along with many other businesses in the leisure and heritage sector, has been forced to close to visitors due to the current pandemic. Coming after the early part of the year when trains are not running, our finances are already at their lowest ebb.

“We are therefore appealing for donations to help keep the essential services of the railway running at a time when, unexpectedly, we have no income. In spite of our large volunteer workforce, we are also one of the largest employers in Mid Sussex, and we have many ongoing costs and expenses which do not stop when we’re not running trains.”

A Bluebell Railway spokesman said: “Many thousands of people enjoy the Bluebell Railway every year from steam train enthusiasts to families looking for a day out. We are preserving the best of a bygone era for future generations and any money people donate will help to ensure the railway can continue to do that when it re-opens.”

The Bluebell Railway emergency appeal is at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/support-bluebell

The railway has stopped running trains and its shop and catering outlets are not open to visitors. The railway’s online shop continues to trade and it is increasing its stock of railway-related items. The shop is at https://www.bluebell-railway.com/shop/