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Friday, September 30, 2022

Llangollen Railway facing shortage of volunteers

Despite facing a shortage of volunteers Llangollen Railway still managed to steam to success over the past month.

Figures show that passenger numbers for September are running at over 60% of what was budgeted. 

But, in common with other similar heritage attractions, the railway is short of people to devote their time and energies to helping them operate.

And last weekend, for the first time this season, it was forced to a cancel a train because of a lack of crew. 

Spokesperson Terry Pickthall explained: "Like many other heritage railways, we make no secret of being short of volunteers, especially mid-week. 

"We also recognise we need to work harder to look after and retain existing volunteers as well as attracting new ones. Our Santa trains need more and urgent support. 

"No prior experience is necessary, just a love of Christmas, working with people and ideally liking a bit of Christmas dressing up, whether it’s as the Great Man himself, an elf or even just a bit of tinsel around your hat and helping show people to their seats. 

"If busy crowds aren’t your thing then there’s loads of other things to do. Our beautiful stations at Llangollen and along the line need decorating for Christmas. They are also crying out for more TLC - painting, gardening or even a bit of DIY and building work. We provide full training for whatever you choose to get involved with too."

Terry added: "We have an excellent Volunteer Liaison Team ready to support anyone wanting to give working with us a try. Interested folk can visit and should also keep a look out for one of Volunteer Recruitment days, which we will be running next season."

Terry added: "Despite these challenges, we have had a very successful season. Passenger numbers for September so far are over 60% what we budgeted. We managed to run a very successful diesel weekend earlier this month too, with three trains in use. 

"Next weekend (October 8 and 9) sees our very popular Heritage Railcar Weekend, which includes an evening train and hotpot supper. Tickets for our November “Ride the Rocket” firework train also sold out in record time. 

"Last Friday was the first time all season that we’ve had to a cancel a train because we were short of crew. This is no mean feat given how much midweek running we have done."

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