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Railway volunteers assure enthusiasts it will steam on through the crisis

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Staff at the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway have vowed that it “will still be here when the crisis has passed”, as it counts the cost of having to cancel all immediate open days and events.

The Wetheringsett museum – Suffolk’s only standard gauge heritage railway – has been forced to make the decision in light of the global pandemic.

But marketing manager John Reeve said that, even though the tourist attraction relies on visitor spending for funding and still has maintenance and security costs, the registered charity can continue, even with the loss of revenue.

Michael Portillo visiting the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway in 2018.
Michael Portillo visiting the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway in 2018.

He said: “This is an enormous disappointment to the Middy’s volunteers after such a promising start to the year, with a record attendance for the new year’s steam-up and the brilliant Easter weather, which would surely have occasioned another excellent turnout of visitors, as it did in 2019.

“The good news is that the trustees have been assured that the museum could survive the loss of income from the whole 2020 summer programme if necessary – and the Middy will still be here when the crisis has passed.”

The museum had two projects under way before the outbreak, the first being the restoration of a steam locomotive, number 1604, intended to mark the 70th anniversary of the site’s closure in 2022.

The second was an ambitious project which would extend the light railway by more than twice its length, bringing its new destination to Aspall Halt.

To see the donation appeals for the projects and for up-to-date news on the railway, go online to www.mslr.org.uk.

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