South Devon Railway
Record year for South Devon Railway
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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 of 7%.

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 year.”

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

Locomotive 3803 will return to steam in 2006
The platform and newly installed spear fencing at Buckfastleigh
The replacement bridge at 4 miles 7 chains

During 2005 the railway has funded a number of projects including:
• £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 project
• £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 workshop.

Work currently scheduled for 2006 includes:
• Completion of GWR 2-8-0 heavy freight locomotive 3803
• Relaying of 430 sleepers at Woodville, between Buckfastleigh and Staverton
• Undertaking of major roof repairs to the former goods shed building at Buckfastleigh, which now houses the museum and a carriage workshop
• 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 no 5542.

The South Devon Railway's season starts on March 18th
and daily running begins on March 25th
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 © South Devon Railway Trust 2006