The South Devon Railway had its best ever year in 2005,
according to figures announced just seven days after the close of the season.
Passenger numbers travelling on the Buckfastleigh to Totnes
line went up by over 6000, from 85,339 in 2004 to 91,341 in 2005, an increase
The railway's turnover, comprising both the South Devon
Railway Trust, which operates the railway, and the South Devon Railway
Plc, which runs the retail and other commercial operations of the SDR,
was £1.3m. Combined balance sheet values topped £2.3m. Trust
traffic revenues rose by 11% and overall turnover increased by about 5%,
with the Plc up by 28%. The Trust generated a surplus of £220,000
and the Plc generated £90,000 profit, which will be Gift Aided to
the Trust (registered charity 800299). The money has all been ploughed
back into improving the railway and reducing the debt incurred in buying
the line from former landlords, the Dart Valley Railway plc.
General Manager, Richard Elliott, said: We are absolutely
delighted with these results which reflect the enormous hard work put in
by the volunteers, staff and management of the railway, The weather was
mixed for us, but we have been working hard to continually improve the
attractions at the SDR which is more and more becoming an all-day attraction
for our visitors. We are hoping to top the 100,000 passenger mark this
The financial results were announced today, just a week
after the completion of running for the year. Finance director, Chris Stokes,
said: We aim to get closing the accounts out of the way as quickly as
we can. Everyone involved wants to know how good the year was. Having positive
news promptly is as much about being organised as the accountancy involved.
It engenders confidence not only with our supporters, but also with the
auditors and the bank manager! Whilst there's more work to be done to produce
all the reports that go with the statutory statements, I can announce that
the South Devon Railway has, in 2005, achieved yet more financial successes.
Turnover, revenue surpluses, capital investment and traffic levels have
broken all records.
He added: Since taking over the railway in 1990, we have
moved from a very basic operation to one which offers Great Western Railway
locomotives daily, a GWR service set of coaches as well as a genuine auto
train. We have also expanded the range of attractions for visitors, from
an excellent museum to riverside walks and children's play areas. This
has meant that people now spend a lot longer with us than they used to.
We also now have gift and model railway shop which is open all year round.
Below are three pictures of where some of last years surpluses
have been spent
During 2005 the railway has funded a number of projects
£175,000 spent on the continuing restoration
of no 3803, an GWR heavy freight locomotive, which is due to enter service
in 2006. A total of nearly £300,000 has so far been spent on this
£40,000 refurbishment and improvements to Buckfastleigh
station's forecourt and platform.
£10,000 replacement of an under bridge between
Buckfastleigh and Staverton (at 4 miles 7 chains)
£25,000 investment in capital equipment for the
Work currently scheduled for 2006 includes:
Completion of GWR 2-8-0 heavy freight locomotive 3803
Relaying of 430 sleepers at Woodville, between Buckfastleigh
Undertaking of major roof repairs to the former goods
shed building at Buckfastleigh, which now houses the museum and a carriage
Continuation of long-term restoration of GWR Collett
brake third coach no 1645
Commencement of overhaul of GWR pannier tank no 1369
Undertaking of minor work on visiting GWR prairie tank
The South Devon Railway's season starts on March 18th
and daily running begins on March 25th
© South Devon Railway