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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Railway left in "precarious position" by Covid-19, says boss

* Llangollen Railway has opened again following lockdown.

* The board welcoming back railway visitors. Picture: George Jones.

The manager of Llangollen Railway has spoken to the BBC about the challenges it faces as a result of Covid-19.

In an interview published online yesterday morning (Saturday) as the attraction re-opened following months of lockdown, Liz McGuinness said heritage steam railways in general are in a "precarious" situation and will be struggling for survival over the summer.
She described how the industry was "walking a tightrope".
lnd she predicted Llangollen Railway would lose “hundreds of thousands of pounds over the summer”.

Yesterday, the first train ran down the line at 10.40am with arounnd 20 passengers on board for the return trip to Carrog. 
Among the new measures the railway has taken in advance of the re-opening is a special hand sanitiser for staff as it is considered dangerous to use alcohol-based products on board a steam locomotive.
In total, £10,000 has been spent making the railway safe to reopen, including buying PPE for volunteers and staff, she revealed.
Ms McGuinness explained: “Lockdown has left us in quite a precarious situation.
"We have lost £600,000 over the past few months. We will probably lose another £300,000 to £400,000 over the summer holidays because we're only starting in August and we can't carry the same number of passengers.
"At the moment we're holding our own, but we are walking a tightrope. We are in a very dangerous position if we don't get enough passengers coming to ride on the trains."
The BBC story also featured the Ffestioniog Railway in Porthmadog, Gwynedd, which has been open for the past two weeks, but has also struggled financially in 2020.

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